September '14 - Planting Seeds for a Healthy School Year
- Back to school means back to packing lunches. Get your children involved by taking them grocery shopping. Teach them that a healthy lunch includes three out of the four food groups from Canada's Food Guide. To make mornings less hectic, have your children help make their lunches the night before.
- Children need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Avoid soft drinks, chocolate, TV, and video games at least one to two hours before bedtime. These activities can make it hard for children to fall asleep. Remember that a solid night's sleep helps children pay attention and learn well at school.
- Did you know that cigarette smoke is estimated to be 27 times more concentrated in a car than in the home? Keep your child free from the negative effects of second hand smoke by keeping your car smoke free. You'll avoid a ticket under the Ontario Smoke Free Legislation, and support a good health practice with your family.
- Make back to school time easier by getting organized. Review school information like:
- Bus schedules.
- Health and emergency forms.
- School supply lists.
Keep a calendar and mark important dates like parent/teacher meetings and field trips. As new events come up, add them to your calendar to stay organized.
- Children need 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity every day. This means movement that gets the heart beating faster. Start the day by encouraging your children to walk to school. Remember proper clothing for rainy and cold weather will encourage them to stay active even as the weather changes.
- Children are at the greatest risk of injury near buses. Teach them to:
- Stay out of blind spots. If they can touch the bus, they're too close.
- Use the handrail and climb in one person at a time.
- Face forward while riding.
- Keep backpacks and feet out of the aisle to prevent tripping.
- Remain seated until the bus has stopped completely.
- 90% of all colds, flus, and sore throats are caused by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Protect yourself and your child by getting the flu vaccine this fall. Remember to encourage frequent hand washing.
Apple Seeds – Fall 2014
October '14 - Freshly Picked Tips for a Safe and Spooky Halloween
- At Halloween, help your children to balance healthy foods with unhealthy trick-or-treat items. Provide snacks like high fibre, low sugar granola bars, vegetables, fruits, or whole grain crackers.
- Halloween is trick-or-treat time. Remind your children to follow these rules to keep them safe:
- Travel in a group.
- Carry a flashlight.
- Walk on the sidewalks.
- Never run.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Children can be injured if their Halloween costumes do not fit properly. Make sure that:
- Masks or headgear don't block your children's ability to see all around them.
- Costumes don't drag on the ground.
- Reflective tape is fastened to their bags and costume so cars will see them easily.
- It's estimated that about 6% of Canadian children have food allergies (Health Canada). Check Halloween treats carefully. As well, it's important to be aware of allergies when making lunches. By packing nut-free lunches you are helping to keep all children safe from allergic reactions. For more information about nut-free lunches visit:
- Keep a healthy smile after Halloween by encouraging your children to:
- Reduce the number of sweet treats eaten.
- Avoid soft, sticky candy that gets stuck in teeth.
- Drink plenty of water to rinse sugar away.
Finally, have children brush their teeth for TWO minutes, TWO times a day.
November '14 - Golden Delicious Tips
- Pack your children's lunches with protein rich foods. Protein helps with healing, provides energy, and boosts the immune system. Add foods such as fish, meat, eggs and beans to lunches.
- School can be stressful. Teach your children that stress is a normal part of life. If they are feeling overwhelmed, encourage them to be active, and do deep breathing or imagery exercises. Talk to them about what they find stressful and remember to really listen before giving advice.
Apple Seeds – Fall 2014
- At home, choose an area or desk space that is just for homework. Make sure that it's quiet with few distractions. Keep the TV off and noisy siblings out. This creates a place for learners to focus and concentrate. And make sure that you have room to work with them too!
- Encourage your children to get involved in school sports. They will:
- Make new friends.
- Get physically active.
- Learn about being part of a team.
- Build strong muscles and bones.
To show your support, volunteer at fundraisers or practices, and cheer for their team at games.
- Hand washing is one of the easiest ways to remove germs and avoid getting sick. Encourage your children to wash their hands after playing outside, going to the bathroom, and before handling and eating food.
December '14- Ingredients for a Safe Holiday
- Over the holidays there are lots of opportunities to eat unhealthy snacks and meals. Teach your children to:
- Eat in moderation foods such as stuffing, gravy and desserts.
- Pick healthy options like steamed vegetables, salads, and turkey.
- Take the opportunity to spend time with your children over the busy holiday season by:
- Playing a family board game.
- Going for a winter walk.
- Attending free public skating.
- Building a snowman or snow fort.
Just remember to dress for the cold weather to avoid injury.
- Wearing a helmet can reduce the chance of a head injury by 85%. Helmets should be worn when using bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, sleds, snowboards, and skis. It's also the law to wear a helmet while snowmobiling. As well, don't forget that it's important to wear them when playing physical sports like hockey this winter.
- Hearing loss in children often goes undiagnosed. Common signs may include:
- Delayed speech.
- Not reacting when someone is speaking to them.
- Asking the speaker to repeat information.
- Turning up the volume of the TV.
- Talking very loudly.
Recognize the signs of hearing loss. Talk to your health care professional if you have concerns.
Apple Seeds – Fall 2014
January '15- Growing into a New Year of Healthy Choices
- Set a healthy goal for the whole family this New Year. Decide to eat the recommended 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Include them in every meal and snack. Try a new one at least once a week.
- Make physical and mental health a priority by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising. Check out programs in your community that are family based so that you can participate with your children.
- Start off the year with the right information about good decision making. Talk to your children about the negative effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking. If you talk, they will listen.
- Set a resolution to limit screen time. Encourage children to spend less than 2 hours per day on computers, video games, and television and more time doing activities. Try sledding, skating, or playing in the snow instead.
- Watch your step this New Year. Make sure you and your children have boots or shoes with good traction. Also, keep porches and sidewalks clean and ice-free to help prevent slips and falls.
© Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, 2014.