Helping Your Child Be Healthy & Fit

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Helping Your Child Be Healthy
and Fit

with activities for children
aged 4 through 11

By Carol S. Katzman and Carolyn R. McCary
with Deborah Kidushim-Allen, R.D.

Edited by Cynthia Hearn Dorfman

Illustrated by Annie Lunsford

Carol Katzman has served as Assistant Superintendent in the Beverly
Hills Unified School District and has taught at all levels, K-8. She served a
four-year term on the California Curriculum Commission, including one year as
Chair. As a member of the advisory board of the local Health Champions (a
comprehensive health education program) she was responsible for its
implementation. When this program became the model for the California
Department of Education's initiative, Healthy Kids, Healthy California, she
worked for the Department on the program's overall design.

Carolyn McCary is an educational consultant who works for school
districts and private sector organisations. She taught primary grades for
many years. As a coordinator of the comprehensive health program in the
Beverly Hills Unified School District, she helped build a program that served
as a training model for California's Comprehensive Health Education and
Training Program, and she consulted on the development of the Healthy Kids,
Healthy California initiative.

Deborah Kidushim-Allen is a registered dietician and author of several
cookbooks. She co-authored Light Style the low fat, low cholesterol, low salt
way to good food and health (HarperCollins). She writes a weekly column for
the Los Angeles Times syndication, and serves as nutrition consultant to
Health Champions.

Annie Lunsford has been a freelance illustrator since 1975. Her works
include a Children's Hospital calendar, a book for Ronald McDonald House, and
slide shows for the National Institutes of Health. Her work has been
recognised by The Advertising Club of New York, the Society of Illustrators,
and The Printing Industry of America.




Things To Know


Face File
A Mirror of Me
Quilt of Many Feelings
My Folder
This Is the Our Hands
Smile If You Like Me!
Follow the Recipe!
Oven-Fried Potatoes
Sticks & Stones Snack
To Share or Not To Share?
I Do It for Me
Hold That Tiger!
Warm Up
Run For It!
Keep Going!
Cool Down

More Ideas

Safety First
And They Licked the Platter Clean
Growing Up Drug Free


Parents and the Schools


Long-term good health is less an accident than the result of good
habits and wise choices. To enjoy good health now and in the future,
youngsters must learn how to eat, exercise, sleep, control stress, and be
responsible for personal cleanliness and reducing the risk of disease. In
addition, they need to be aware of what to do in an emergency and when to say

Habits that include eating nutritious foods and understanding the
relationship between physical and emotional health will help your child grow
up healthy. Your child's ability to learn and the chances for a longer and
more productive life can be greatly improved by developing and following good
health practices.

First of All, Your Child Is Special

The mental and emotional health of your child is just as important as physical
health. From the earliest moment, a child needs to feel that he or she is
special and cared about by family members and friends.

A child who enjoys good mental and emotional health is able to approach
new situations with confidence. When children are comfortable with
themselves, they can express their emotions in a positive way. As children
learn to value themselves and develop confidence in their ability to make
responsible decisions, they are building a sense of self-worth or

Parents and teachers share the responsibility for helping children
build self-confidence. A child who is confident is more successful in
everyday interactions with peers and adults. Confidence in one's ability to
learn new and difficult skills can affect future achievement, as well.
Developing a trusting relationship with your child, establishing open
communication, and recognising personal achievements are all important. When
children know they can do something well, it makes them feel special.

Get Ready, Get Set, Grow Up Healthy

From the time your child is born, there are ways in which you can help
your child learn how to grow up healthy. This book has activities that help

* understand their emotions and build self-esteem;

* eat the right foods;

* prevent disease;

* and build strong bodies.

The book also has safety tips, ways to help your child say
"no" to drugs, a section on parents and the schools, a
bibliography, and a chart to help you keep track of your child's

The Basics

Does This Mean I Can't Eat Ice Cream?

Good nutrition does not mean that your children cannot eat their
favourite foods or that they must eat foods they do not like. Good nutrition
means variety and moderation in a person's diet. Choosing what foods to eat
is important in pursuing a healthy life. Your children may choose to eat
certain foods because they taste good or because they are available. Make
nutritious foods available and monitor the "sometimes"
foods--sugary snacks and fatty desserts.

I'd Rather Play.

Good health is a blend of physical and emotional well-being. Exercises
are basic elements of physical fitness that should be part of play.

Aerobic exercises, such as jogging or jumping, that increase the
heartbeat, strengthen the heart and muscles, improve endurance, condition the
total body, and help prevent disease. Anaerobic, slow, stretching exercises
improve flexibility and muscular fitness. Both types of exercise are
important and fun.

I'm Afraid and I'm Unhappy.

We all face stressful situations. With family members, with teachers,
with friends, and with strangers problems can arise that make your child feel
anxious, nervous, confused, or frightened. Too much stress or the wrong kind
of stress can make it difficult for children to learn. Helping your child
learn appropriate and healthy ways of handling stress, through exercise,
proper sleep, discussing problems with an adult, or breaking down jobs into
manageable parts, for example, is important.

You Sneezed Right in My Face!

A healthy lifestyle includes habits that will help your child avoid
diseases caused by germs. Material carrying germs can be transferred through
handshaking, kissing, coughing, sneezing, or by other means of direct
contact. Most shared items have germs on them. Teaching your child how to
reduce the transmission of germs can help your child, as well as others, stay

I Don't Feel Well!

A clean environment will support the health and well-being of your
child now and in the future. You can begin by having a healthy home that is
free of dirt, dust, and germs, as well as dangerous substances such as radon
or lead. Make sure, too, that poisonous substances, such as household
cleaners and pesticides, are kept away from children. You can also take
precautions in preparing foods by washing them carefully and cooking them at
the recommended temperature. Outside the home, you can work with others to
help combat excessive pollution in your community.

Important Things To Know

and Your Child

They went to the cupboard... Today, feeding children is based on
concerns about heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
There is reason to be concerned. More than 20 percent of American children
are overweight with a good chance that 50 to 70 percent of them will remain
overweight as adults. It is important for parents to set good examples of
healthful eating. Research shows that children develop eating habits similar
to those of their parents. While it is a parent's job to provide balanced
selections from the five food groups, children can be allowed a certain
amount of freedom to choose what and how much they eat.

Poor eating habits and craving for sugar snacks and fatty foods may
develop if parents fail to direct the decision making process. Remember that
the issue isn't "good foods" versus "bad foods". If
children balk at food put before them, don't worry. Studies show children
will, over time, eat the amount of food that is right for them if they are
offered healthful choices. You can't expect a child to want to eat broccoli
if french fries are offered, or drink milk or orange juice when parents are
drinking sodas. Of course, an occasional high fat food, gooey dessert, sugary
snack, or soda is permissible, provided they are not substitutes for
nutritious foods. Parents can make eating a pleasure for the entire family by
helping create positive attitudes about food that will lead to a lifetime of
good health.

What are the five food groups, and how can we help the entire family
eat a balanced diet? The food guide pyramid on this page shows how to select
a balanced diet and how to teach your child to make wise choices.

How many servings do you need each day?

Children,     Teen
women,     teen girls,     boys,
older     active women,     active
adults     most men     men

about     about

Calorie level*
     2,200      2,800

Bread Group
Servings      6      9      11
Vegetable Group
Serving      3      4      5
Fruit Group
Servings      2      3      4
Milk Group Serving      2-3**      2-3**      2-3**
Meat Group Servings      2, for
a      2, for
a      3, for a

of      total
of      total of
5 ounces      6
ounces      7 ounces
Total Fat (grams) 53 73 93

* These are the calorie levels if you choose low fat. lean foods from
the 5 major food groups and use foods from the fats, oils, and sweets group

** Women who are pregnant or breast feeding, teenagers, and young adults
to age 24 need 3 servings.

A balanced diet includes food from each of the following food groups:

1. grains (bread, cereal, rice, and pasta);
2. fruit (fresh, dried, or unsweetened canned);
3. vegetables (raw or lightly cooked);
4. meat (meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs, and nuts);
and 5. dairy (milk, yoghurt, and cheese).

Offer your children nutritious choices for meals and snacks. This way
you can help them control their own diet. For example, you might offer a
choice of an apple, an orange, or a banana. With older children (aged 7 and
up) you can start by planning a menu together, letting the children check to
make sure it includes all five food groups.

Remember that each of the food groups provides some, but not all, of
the nutrients a child needs. Foods in one group can't replace those in
another. No one of these major food groups is more important than another.
For good health, all are necessary.

What's for breakfast? Many of us do not eat in the morning. Estimates
suggest that up to 25 percent of all school-aged children leave the house
without breakfast.

You may think that breakfast is just another meal. For a child,
breakfast provides much needed energy (calories) to start the day off right.
Adults may be able to make up for skipped breakfast by grabbing something on
the way to work or while doing morning errands.

Your child, however, does not have that opportunity. A nursery school
child usually has a mid-morning snack 3 to 5 hours after waking up. After
kindergarten, few children are offered a morning snack.

Getting your child to eat breakfast isn't always easy. Try to tune into
your child's morning personality. A sleepyhead may need a quick breakfast. An
early riser may like to eat breakfast before getting dressed. If this
conflicts with your morning schedule, let your children get their own
breakfast. Even a 6-year-old can open a container of yoghurt.

A good breakfast consists of complex carbohydrates and simple sugars
(breads, whole grains, fibre, fruits, and vegetables); proteins (dairy,
chicken, beef, fish, eggs, nuts, and dried beans), and some fat.
Carbohydrates and simple sugars offer quick energy but leave the stomach
quickly. A breakfast of only carbohydrates can give a child the mid-morning
"blahs". When milk, cheese, yoghurt, lean meat, or an egg is added,
the food stays in the stomach longer and provides sustained energy.

It's Child's Play

Physical fitness is a vital part of being healthy. For children, being
and staying physically fit can happen with activities they refer to as PLAY!
Play that makes them breathe deeply is aerobic exercise. Aerobic activities
such as bicycling, jumping rope, roller skating, running, dancing, and
swimming can be beneficial if they are done for 12 to 15 minutes without

The young child develops an active lifestyle as he or she begins to
creep, crawl, and then walk. Young children learn how to move in their
environment by playing alone in their own personal space.

As children grow, they hop, march, run, roll, toss, bounce, and kick.
Their bodies are changing in terms of height and weight, and they are
beginning to form a self-concept through comparison with others as they move.

When play is organised into specific movements, it becomes exercise.
For exercise to become part of each day, these movements or activities should
meet the interests and needs of your child. Play is the beginning. Children
can follow their own paths to lifetime fitness by exercising for fun and at
their own pace.

Watching too much TV can deprive your child of opportunities to play
and exercise. Set a good example. Limit TV watching. Walk to your destination
as often as possible. Play active games with your child. Help form
neighbourhood sports teams and participate in the recreation.

Everyone can exercise. Certain exercises keep your heart and lungs
healthy. Strong, flexible muscles can be developed with exercise. As your
child achieves fitness through exercise, a growing self-confidence will be
another benefit of a fitness routine.

Let's Stay Well.

Reducing the risk of disease is a major goal in helping your child grow
up healthy. Bacteria and viruses cause disease and sickness, and cleanliness
can help prevent the spread of these germs. Sharing such items as a comb,
toothbrush, hairbrush, or cup, even among family members, can also spread
disease. Having clean clothes and daily baths shows children that being clean
not only feels good, but also helps them stay well.

You can teach your children to wash their hands at an early age. Tell
your children that skin can stop germs from entering the body, and washing
can reduce the risk of infection if your child has a cut or scrape.

Explain, too, that harmful germs and viruses can be spread by a sneeze
or a cough. Teach your child to stay away from people who are sneezing and
coughing. Children can help prevent the spread of disease if they cover their
sneezes or coughs with a tissue.

Everybody has an internal disease fighting system (immune system) made
of antibodies and white blood cells. Your child can help that immune system
function well by getting enough sleep, by eating nutritious meals, and by

Vaccinations also prevent disease and play an important part in helping
your child grow up healthy. The idea of having a shot may be frightening to a
child. Help your child understand that this vaccination is a medicine that
prevents disease. It's a lot more fun to be playing with friends than to be

A vaccination chart for keeping track of immunisations can be found on
the inside front cover. The importance of vaccinating children at the
appropriate ages cannot be overemphasised.


The activities that follow are designed to introduce your child to some
of the basic ideas of good health. There are activities that focus on
understanding emotions and developing self-esteem, those that emphasise
nutrition, those that stress cleanliness and caring for your body, and those
that promote exercise (see the symbols to the right that indicate the type of
activity). These activities are just samples of the many things you can do
with your child to enhance awareness of the benefits of good health
throughout life. So, get started and have fun!

(Symbols and Images Not Available)

Face File

Young children love to cut and paste. They can learn about their
emotions at the same time.

What you'll need

Pieces of cardboard or construction paper
Paste or glue
Box or folder

What to do

1. Have your child find pictures in magazines to illustrate different

2. Have your child paste each face on cardboard or construction paper.

3. Together, decide what feeling is expressed by the face and label the

4. Sort the faces by categories of feelings, such as sad, funny,
surprised, happy.

5. Use a box or folder to file the pictures.

By looking at the pictures, children can recognise how people feel by
their facial expressions.

A Mirror of Me

Help your child frame a mirror with items that represent the things
your child likes.

What you'll need

Small pocket mirror
Lid of a shoe box
photographs that that can be cut up,
paint or an ink pad for thumb prints,
or other items that represent your child's interests
Scissors if you wish to cut out pictures
Glue that is strong enough to hold the mirror

What to do

1. Help your child attach a small pocket mirror inside the lid of a
shoe box.

2. Have your child decorate the inside of the lid with objects that
reflect special interests. Some of the decorations might include

a thumb print
pictures of favourite foods, sports, and hobbies.

3. Have your child look into the mirror to see a wonderful face and the
things that make it smile!

4. You might want to hang the framed mirror on the wall of your child's

This activity recognises the things that are important to your child
and helps your child realise that an identity is based on one's own

Quilt of Many Feelings

Traditionally, making quilts has been a way for people to express
themselves through the use of colour and pattern in a practical way. A quilt
of faces can help your child understand how emotions are conveyed through
facial expressions.

What you'll need

Coloured paper
Markers or crayons
Paste or glue
Large piece of paper
(poster paper, a large paper bag cut and laid out flat, wrapping or computer

What to do

1. Using different colours (pastel colours work best), cut the paper
into 6" x 6" squares.

2. Have your child draw faces representing feelings they have had:

happy      loved
sad      special
good      jealous
bad      lonely

3. Have your child label these emotions.

4. Paste the squares together on a large piece of paper to resemble a
patchwork quilt.

Drawing pictures is one way children have of expressing themselves
without feeling self-conscious or embarrassed.

My Folder

A folder with your child's name on it can help your child get organised
while enhancing self-image.

What you'll need

Dark crayon or marker
Large sheet of paper

What to do

1. Have your child write his or her name or initials many times on a
large sheet of paper.

2. Fold the paper in half to create a folder.

3. Place pictures, work from school, or drawings that are important to
the child in the folder.

Names are very important to children. Just think of how upset they get when
they are called names. Talk with your child about his or her name. Is there a
favourite nickname? What does the name mean? Was your child named for
someone? This is an opportunity for you and your child to talk together to
build a strong self-image.

This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands

Children have to be reminded to wash their hands. This is a way to turn
the reminder into fun.

What you'll need

Paper or cardboard
Small slice of soap or a sample soap bar

What to do

1. Have your child trace around his or her hand on a piece of paper or

2. Cut a small slice of soap from a large soap bar or use a small or
sample sized bar of soap.

3. Glue the soap on to the paper hand.

4. Hang the poster in the bathroom over the sink to remind your child
about hand washing.

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid spreading germs to
prevent disease. It is especially important when eating or handling food.

Smile If You Like Me

Make a game out of introducing your child to new foods.

What you'll need

Round object
Felt tip pen
New foods for your child to sample

What to do

1. Cut paper into three 3"x 3" squares.

2. On each piece of paper, trace around the bottom of a round object
with a felt tip pen.

3. Have your child draw three different kinds of faces in the circles:
a face with a smile, an unhappy face, and a face with a straight line for a
mouth to show "I don't care".

4. Ask your child to try a new or different food. Emphasise that not
all the portion has to be eaten: simply try the food and talk about likes and

5. Tell your child to give you one of the faces that reflects the
feeling about the new food.

6. Post a chart to record new foods your child tries.

7. Set a goal, such as trying one new food a week.

8. Reward your child for trying the foods by writing "Good
job!" on the chart, putting stickers on the chart, or celebrating by
taking a trip to the local zoo or library when the chart is complete.

This activity gives your child a chance to enjoy and learn about a
variety of foods without the pressure of having to "clean your
plate" at mealtime. One point to remember when doing this activity is to
try not to use food as a reward or bribe.

Follow the Recipe!

One way to get children to eat healthful food, especially vegetables,
is to involve them in the selection and preparation of a recipe.

What you'll need

A simple recipe
Paper and pencil to write a list
Utensils and other equipment with which to cook

What to do

1. Choose a simple recipe to prepare.

2. Write a shopping list from the recipe. Check the nutritional value
of the ingredients by reading the nutrition label aloud with your child.

3. Take the children to the market. The supermarket is the perfect
place to introduce the older ones to label reading. For children over age 6,
see who can find the products with the most sugars, fats, and salt. Explain
that the first ingredient listed is what the food has the most of. Then, hunt
for alternative, healthier foods.

4. Allow children to feel the weight and texture of vegetables.
Handling hits and vegetables will help them learn how to distinguish between
ripe, unripe, or spoiled produce.

5. Have children help you put away groceries. Preschoolers enjoy
washing fruits and vegetables, and you can explain the proper way to wash
them to remove dirt and insecticides. Have them store fresh vegetables in the
refrigerator, explaining this will help retain vitamins and help the
vegetables stay fresh longer. Have them store root vegetables (potatoes and
onions) in a cool, dry place away from light.

6. Place all the ingredients you will need for the recipe on a tray to
make cooking more efficient.

7. Keep tasks simple and within the child's abilities. Toddlers can
stir an egg, mix ingredients, spread jams or peanut butter, or carry pots and
pans. Older children love to measure dry ingredients and enjoy the challenge
of pouring liquids without spilling.

Paediatricians recommend that parents should get more involved with
their children. What better way than by making a game out of cooking, a
necessary task but one in which everyone can be involved. Having your
children participate in food selection can help you manage food choices for
toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children.

Oven-Fried Potatoes

NOTE: This activity requires parental supervision.

Here is a healthful recipe that you might want to try.

What you'll need

3 medium potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
2 tablespoons low calorie margarine, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

What to do

1. Cut potatoes length wise into strips about 4" x 1/2" x

2. Arrange in a single layer on a non stick baking sheet.

3. Pour margarine and oil over potatoes and toss to coat well.

4. Sprinkle with paprika (young children enjoy doing this).

5. Bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes.

6. Put on serving platter; sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Safety tips in the kitchen:

Children should not be left unsupervised when electrical appliances, flame,
or heat are involved. Be extra careful with moving equipment, such as rotary
blades of a mixer, food processor, blender, or hand mixer. Knives, scissors,
and the like are best for older children.

Remind children that handles of utensils on a stove top should be
turned inward. Stirring spoons (especially metal ones) should have long
handles and be kept away from the heat. Keep an eye on children near stoves,
no matter what age and keep small children away from heat of any kind.

Sticks & Stones Snack

Here is a snack that your children will have fun making and enjoy
eating while getting needed nutrients.

What you'll need

4 cups of cereal (Kix or some type of low sugar cereal)
2 cups of pretzel sticks
2 cups of raisins
Mixing bowl

What to do

1. Mix the cereal, pretzel sticks, and raisins in a mixing bowl.

2. Eat as a "between meal" snack. Makes about 8 cups.

This recipe was adapted from Kid's Recipe Magic, 1990, General Mills,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, p. 15.

The food guide pyramid shows that children need about 9 servings a day
from the bread and cereal group and 3 servings of fruits. This snack can help
meet these nutritional requirements.


Playing and singing with children can help make tooth brushing an
enjoyable experience.

What you'll need

Toothbrush (child sized in a favourite colour or with a favourite
cartoon character on it)
Toothpaste (you might try toothpaste especially made for children)
Wash cloth for young children
Children's dental floss.

What to do

1. When it is time for your children to brush their teeth, sing a silly
song together about tooth brushing:

This is the way we brush our teeth,
Brush our teeth,
Brush our teeth,
This is the way we brush our teeth,
So early in the morning!

2. Make sound effects--"ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM .... or VROOM, VROOM,
VROOM" when you watch them brush.

3. Have your children name their teeth and use their names: "Now
don't forget Cutters, Doggies, and Chompers!" (Children often find it
interesting that dentists call some teeth "canines.")

Before your baby even has teeth, clean the gums with a wet cloth after
feeding. When teeth start to come in, brush with a soft toothbrush and water.
At about age 3, teach your child to brush as follows: start at the gum and gently
massage under the gum, then work the toothbrush around the teeth in a gentle,
circular motion. Floss teeth daily when all the baby teeth are in.

To Share or Not To Share?

Telling the difference between personal items that should not be shared
and those things that are to be shared can be a hard distinction for children
to make.

What you'll need

Newspapers or magazines
Large pieces of paper
Red pen or marker

What to do

1. Have your child collect pictures of a toothbrush, cup, comb, hairbrush,
and spoon or fork from newspapers or magazines.

2. Ask your child to paste the pictures on a large piece of paper.

3. With a red felt tip marker or pen, have your child put an X or \
through each picture.

4. Title the poster, "Things I Do Not Share".

5. Have your child collect pictures of objects that he or she does
share. These can be pictures of toys, pets, and books.

6. Use these pictures to make a poster with the title "Things I

Remind your children that disease is spread by the hands and through
the mouth, so they shouldn't share tooth brushes, cups, spoons, or forks.
head lice are spread by combs and brushes. Working with your child to make
the posters will help you explain these points, while emphasising that there
are many things we can share.

I Do It For Me

How can I take care of myself? Here is an activity that will take
advantage of your child's growing independence while emphasising healthful

What you'll need

Marker or crayon

What to do

1. With your child, make a chart that lists healthful responsibilities:

I take a bath.
I wear clean clothes.
I brush my teeth at least twice each day.
I wash my hair.
I wash my hands before eating.
I wash my hands after going to the bathroom.
I use my own brush or comb and don't let anyone else use it.
I get plenty of sleep.

The list can include other items that you and your child think should
be on the list.

2. Make a box for each day of the week after each responsibility.

3. Have your child check off the things done each day.

4. At the end of the week, write WOW over the responsibilities or place
a sticker over those completed during the week.

It is important that children learn to take responsibility for the care
of their bodies. Having a chart helps them develop self-reliance and helps to
make life calmer for both of you.

Hold that Tiger!

Children love animals and they love to imitate. Combine these two
interests to inspire exercise.

What you'll need

Magazines or newspapers
Cardboard or paper
Paste or glue
An open space in which to move

What to do

1. Collect pictures of different animals.

2. Paste each picture on a different piece of cardboard.

3. Place the cards face down on a table and mix them up.

4. Have your child select a card and turn the card over to reveal the
animal picture on the other side.

5. Have your child imitate the movements of the animal on the card. For

rabbit      hop
horse      gallop
turtle     crawl
frog      leap
tiger      fluid, smooth, sliding steps
elephant      slow lumbering walk, clasp hands together
and swing arms side to side like a trunk.

These movements will help your child develop body awareness, space
awareness, and coordination.

Warm Up

Use one or more of the following exercises to have your child warm up
before doing more vigorous exercises.

All exercises have been adapted from Get Fit!, published by the
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20004.

What to do

1. Arm Circles. Stand tall with knees slightly bent. Rise on your toes
and slowly circle your arms inward and upward, until arms are straight over
head. Inhale deeply. Continue circling your arms backward and downwards while
lowering your heels and exhaling. Do this exercise slowly and smoothly.
Repeat 5 times.

2. Swinging March. Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart,
hands at your sides. Alternate right and left arms in forward circle motions.
At the same time, lift your opposite knee so that when the right arm is
circling forward the left knee is raised and vice versa. Do 10 complete
circles with each arm and then switch arms to swing backward. Repeat 10 full
circles with each arm.

3. Pendulum Push. Stand straight with arms at your side. Step to right,
bending your right knee. Raise arms overhead and push toward the ceiling. At
the same time, rise on your right toes and lift your left leg off the ground,
keeping all the weight on the right foot. Put your left leg back on the
ground, bending both knees and placing hands on shoulders. Repeat to the left
side. Repeat 10 times on each side.

4. Jumping Jacks. Stand straight with feet together. Jump up and land
with your feet shoulder-width apart as you swing arms to shoulder height.
Jump back to starting position while clapping your hands over your head. Jump
up and land with feet apart while bringing your arms back to shoulder height.
Jump back to starting position while lowering arms to your sides. Repeat this
4-part jumping jack 10-20 times at a slow, controlled pace.

Children should warm up their bodies for about five minutes to get
muscles and joints ready for action and to prevent injury. They will be
warmed up when they start to sweat and breathe heavier.


Muscles should be stretched after they've been warmed up.

What to do

1. Back Scratch Stretch. Have your child stand or sit to do this
exercise. Raise the right hand in the air with the palm facing to the back.
Bend the elbow and place the palm of the hand on the back between the
shoulders. Bring the left hand behind the back to try to touch the right
hand. Hold 10-30 seconds. Repeat two times on each side. Do not force the

2. Knee High Stretch. While standing, lift left knee toward chest.
Place left hand under knee and pull leg up to stretch the back of leg and
lower back. Keep the standing leg slightly bent. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Repeat twice on each side.

3. Thigh Stretch. Keeping body upright, grasp left foot behind you with
left hand. Slowly pull leg back so that the knee moves away from your body
until you feel a stretch in the front of your leg. Hold 10-30 seconds. Repeat
twice with each leg.

4. Calf Stretch. With hands against a wall, put right leg behind you.
Keep right heel on the floor and very slightly bend the right knee. Lean
forward until you feel a pull in your calf and behind your ankle. Hold 10-30
seconds. Repeat twice with each leg.

Stretching helps prevent muscles and joints from getting injured.
Stretching makes the body more flexible so your child will be able to move
easily. Stretching also helps your child relax.

Run For It!

After you've warmed up and stretched, you're ready to run.

What to do

1. Beginner. Jog 2 minutes/walk 1 minute for a total of 15 minutes.
Repeat. Do this at least three times a week.

2. Intermediate. Jog 4 minutes/walk 1 minute. Do this for about 15-20
minutes at least three times a week. After about two weeks, reduce the amount
of walking to 30 seconds. Gradually build up to about 30 minutes using this

3. Advanced. Continuously jog for 20 minutes. If you like jogging, you
can run for longer periods time.

Aerobic activities strengthen your child's heart and lungs by requiring
lots of oxygen and making the heart beat faster. Walking, swimming, running,
and dancing are examples of aerobic exercises.

Keep Going!

These exercises will help your child build muscle strength and

What to do

1. Push Ups. Get down on your hands and knees and position yourself so
that your back is straight, head in line with your spine. Hands should be
placed slightly outside your shoulders, fingers pointed forward, feet on the
ground. Slowly lower your body until your chest touches the floor. Return to
starting position. Once you can do 20-25 push ups with your knees bent, advance
to the straight-leg position on your hands and toes. Try to do 10
straight-leg push ups at a time.

2. Curl Ups. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the
floor. Place your arms across your chest, hands on opposite shoulders. Slowly
curl your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor, bringing elbows to
thighs. Breathe out as you curl up and return to starting position while
breathing in. Repeat 10 times. You might find it helpful to have someone hold
your feet to the ground.

Curl Ups build strong stomach muscles, and Push Ups build strong arm

Cool Down

After doing aerobic or muscle exercises, your child is ready to cool

What to do

1. Have your child walk around for a few minutes to make sure breathing
is back to normal and that the heart is NOT beating fast.

2. Your child should feel slightly relaxed when it is time to do

3. Doing the stretching exercises given on previous pages or others,
have your child stretch all major joints and muscle groups, especially those
used in the workout.

4. Have your child work on flexibility, since it's easier to stretch
warm muscles.

Children should cool down after vigorous exercise to get their
breathing back to normal. Cooling down also keeps muscles from becoming sore
and stiff.

More Ideas

Here are some more ideas that will help your child grow up healthy.

Safety First

Be aware of ways to prevent accidents and be able to identify how
accidents are caused. Teach your children to pick up toys off the floor and
stairs. When cooking, try to use the back burners, making sure that pot
handles and spoons are turned toward the back of the stove. Use safety
latches on cabinets that contain cleaning fluids or knives and other
dangerous utensils. Cover electrical outlets with plastic devices made for
this purpose. And always be sure to keep an eye out for your children!

Identify safety rules and practices to prevent accidents at home, at
school, and during recreational activities. Look for playground and swimming
pool rules that give safety precautions, and explain them to your children.
Make sure your child wears safety equipment for specific activities: a helmet
when riding a bike and knee and elbow pads when roller skating, roller
blading, or skate boarding. Have your child practice hand signals while bike
riding. For the car, make a "Buckle Your Seat Belt" sign and place
it where children can see it.

Be aware of peer pressure. Observe your children in social situations,
and listen closely when they talk with you about things that happen at school
or on the playground. Get to know the parents of your children's friends and
try to attend as many functions in which your child is involved as you can.

Teach your children how to protect themselves. Have them practice
saying "No." Tell them not to talk to strangers, to always walk
with a friend, and to avoid isolated areas such as woods or vacant lots. If
your child is followed by a car, he or she should run away to a friend or
neighbour's house. Teach your children to be alert and to scream if someone
grabs them.

Keep the lines of communication open, so that your children will tell
you if someone touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Work
with your school and neighbourhood to have the police brief your children
about safety precautions and start a "safe home" program where
neighbours display a sign in the window to show children that if they are in
danger they can go to that house.

Response to Emergencies

Recognise and lean appropriate responses to emergency situations, such
as fires, lightning, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Teach your children the
proper uses of fire and fire safety. Plan a home fire escape with your
children and practice it often.

Also, show children what to do if their clothes catch fire (STOP where
you are, DROP to the ground, and ROLL to put out the flames). Make sure your
children know how to dial the emergency number 911. Post it and other
emergency numbers near the telephone where they will be easily seen.

In the event of a tornado, teach. your children that the safest place
to go is the basement or interior room or hallway on the bottom floor of the
house. In an earthquake, teach children to get under a desk or table, and
stay away from windows If your children are outside during a storm and there
is lightning, teach them not to stand under or near a tree. Trees tend to
attract lightning, because they are so tall

First Aid

The best rule of thumb is, "When in doubt, call the doctor."
Know the symptoms that require a doctor's care: intense pain, high fever,
excessive bleeding, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing. Emphasise to your
children that the best way to care for a minor cut or scrape is to wash it
with soap and water and cover with a bandage if the cut is bleeding or will
be exposed to dirt. If possible, take a first aid course from the American
Red Cross, your local YM/YWCA, rescue squad, or other organisation to learn
the procedures in life-threatening situations, such as choking or poisoning.
Some doctors have free pamphlets or video tapes on first aid and what to do
in case of emergency.

And They Licked the Platter Clean

* If your child won't try vegetables, mix finely grated raw carrots
with peanut butter and use as a spread for crackers, bread, apple slices, or

* Puree an egg or egg substitute with cooked or defrosted frozen
vegetables and grated cheese. Cook the mixture the same as you would scramble

* Serve vegetables as a first course on a colourful, child-oriented
plate and then serve the meat or fish as the second course to be eaten after
the vegetables are finished.

* Make edible art. Use the plate as the background and have each child
add apple sauce for clouds, shredded lettuce for grass, celery sticks for a
stem, carrot rounds for flowers, orange slices for leaves, raisins for rocks,
and any other edible ingredients for natural scenes.

* Most toddlers need to eat more often than older children. Give them
favourite, high energy foods and quick and convenient snacks such as slices
of fruit and raw vegetables, whole grain breads, crackers, and cereals, or
chunks of cheese.

* Encourage your children to enjoy and learn about a variety of foods.
All foods can fit into a healthy diet over time.

* Introduce new foods to preschoolers. They are more willing to try
them and will enjoy practising their skills with fork and spoon.

Growing Up Drug Free

From the time your child is born, there are things you can do to help
your child grow up drug, alcohol, and tobacco free. Here are some guidelines.

* Take precautions with medicines and harmful household products.

* Respect your child's feelings.

* Use effective communication skills; avoid statements that blame,
sarcastic remarks, or put downs.

* Be certain that rules for behaviour are fair and consistent.

* Set aside time to be with your child.

* Guide your child's activities. Know where your child is at all times
and get to know your child's friends.

* Set the example for your child.

* Have drug, alcohol, and tobacco free parties and activities in your

* Learn about the school's drug policy.

* Ask for help if you need it.

For more information, you might want to contact

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 402
Rockville, Maryland 20852

(301) 468-2600/(800) 729-6686 (alcohol/drug information)
(800) 662-HELP (toll-free; drug abuse treatment information and referrals).

Parents and the Schools

The school can be a vital link to your child's well-being. So much of
your child's life is spent in school, it is important that you be aware of
all the people and situations involved. Besides the school nurse (who may not
be at the school full time), there are many resources you can call on.

Teachers are aware of the whole child and things that might be getting
in the way of your child's learning. School counsellors can advise on your
child's social and emotional well-being. Many school counsellors concentrate
on helping children build self-esteem, and some work with groups of children
with similar problems, such as coping with a divorce or death in the family.

Physical education classes provide an opportunity for exercise, and
they foster teamwork. The school cafeteria is a source of well-balanced
lunches (and breakfasts in some school districts), many of which are
government-subsidized for low income students. The principal and teacher can
advise on special services provided by the school district for children with
handicaps and special learning needs.

The most important thing you can do is stay in contact with the school,
especially your child's teacher. Listen carefully to the teacher, because the
teacher will often spot problems or warning signs of serious trouble before
you might notice them.

It is also important for you to tell the teacher if your child has a
serious health problem or is experiencing an emotional crisis at home. It is
imperative for the school to know if your child is on medication and what it
is, who should be contacted in case of an emergency, and what to look for in
your child's behaviour that might be a warning sign of the onset of a medical

Your child's welfare is a partnership between the parent and the
school. If a serious medical condition exists, private or community health
services should be consulted.

What can you expect of the school?

The following information has been adapted from Managing Asthma: A
Guide for Schools, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services and the U.S. Department of Education.

The principal should:

* give parents a clear policy on taking medication during school hours.

* provide opportunities for staff to learn about medical emergencies.

* establish a resource file on health issues for teachers and staff to

* schedule building repairs, cleaning, or painting when students are
out of the building during vacations or the summer.

The school nurse should:

* maintain health records on all students with chronic diseases.

* alert staff members about students with serious health conditions.

* inform parents if they suspect a serious health problem.

* administer medication according to school policy.

* Work with the parent/teacher organisation to provide educational
programs on medical conditions that affect a large number of students.

The teacher should:

* know the early waning signs of a medical emergency.

* develop a clear procedure for handling schoolwork missed due to

* understand the side effects of medication, for example, drowsiness,
anxiety, withdrawal.

* educate classmates about special medical conditions of students in
the class, while respecting confidentiality.

* reduce health hazards in the classroom.

* encourage students with health problems to participate in classroom
activities as much as possible.

* allow a student to do quiet activities if a medical condition
prevents full participation.

These are just some of the actions that school personnel can take to
make the school a safer and friendlier place for your child. Remember that
when children are well and comfortable, they learn more.


The following list of books includes just a few of many excellent
publications for parents and their children. No one knows your child as well
as you do. When you select a book, always read through it to make certain the
material presented will benefit your child.

Aliki. Feelings. Mulberry. Picture book with illustrations showing
different emotions. Ages 3-6.

Berger, Melvin. Germs Make Me Sick! illustrated by Marylin Hafner.
Thomas Y. Crowell. An easy-to-read book introduces the young reader to
diseases...what they look like, how you catch them and how the body's
resources fight them. Ages 6-8.

Brown, Fern G. Hereditary Diseases. Franklin Watts. Explains how
disease traits are transmitted through the chromosomes cystic fibrosis,
sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and diabetes. Ages 10-12 years.

Bums, Sheila L. Allergies and You. Julian Messner. Direct, clearly
presented text and illustrations on the symptoms, causes, and preventative
measures for persons afflicted with various allergies. Glossary and
bibliography included. Ages 9-12 years.

Colan, Edward. Drugs in Sports. Franklin Watts. The hazardous effects
of steroids, amphetamines, blood boosting, cocaine, marijuana, and crack as
used by athletes for a competitive edge. Age 11 and older.

Condon, Judith. The Pressure to Take Drugs. Franklin Watts. Explanation
of why people are pressured by peers to take drugs. Advice on how to resist
this pressure is presented. Ages 11-12 years.

DeSantis, Kenny. A Doctor's Tools. Dodd, Mead. For the youngest reader,
an introduction to the vast variety of instruments physicians use in their
practice of medicine. Ages 5-8 years.

Eagles, Douglas A. Nutritional Disease. Franklin Watts. The important
role of enzymes and hormones and the havoc caused by chemical imbalances.
Ages 10-12 years.

Elgin, Kathleen. The Fall Down, Break a Bone, Skin Your Knee Book.
Walker Pub. A clear, simplified introduction to the physical reactions that
take place when the body confronts injury and infection. A section on first
aid is included. Ages 8-10 years.

Englebardt, Stanley. Kids and Alcohol: The Deadliest Drug. Lothrop, Lee
& Shepard. Alcohol what it is, how it affects the body, why some people
become to recognise, treat, and prevent alcoholism. Age 11
and older.

Epstein, Sherrie S. The Story of Penicillin: Penny, the Medicine Maker.
Lerner Pub. In story format, a simple introduction to the history of the
discovery of penicillin by Dr. Alexander Fleming. Ages 7-10 years.

Gelman, Rita Golden & Susan Kovacs Buxbaum. Ouch! All About Cuts
and Other Hurts. Harcout Brace Jovanovich. Alphabetically arranged, the most
common minor injuries that can befall a child are presented with humour and
understanding. Ages 7-9 years.

Get Ready Colouring Book A colouring activity book to help educate
children on disaster readiness. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA-197

Gretz, Suzanna. Teddy Bears Cure a Cold. William, the teddy bear,
catches a cold, and his friends take care of him. Ages 4-6.

Hammond, Winifred. The Riddle of Teeth. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.
An introduction to the study of teeth...what they are made of, how they grow,
and how to keep teeth strong and healthy. Ages 8-10 years.

Hautzig, Deborah. A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital. A guidebook
that prepares Sesame Street characters for Grover's tonsillectomy. Ages 36.

Howe, James. The Hospital Book. Crown. Straightforward, detailed
account of hospital procedures illustrated with black and white photographs. Ages
12 and older.

Krensky, Stephen and Marc Brown. Dinosaurs, Beware! Illustrated by Marc
Brown. Joy Street/Little Brown. A guide to household safety with pictures of
examples of things to avoid. Ages 7-9.

Linn, Margot. A Trip to the Doctor. HarperCollins. Book is organised in
two-page spreads, with questions about the doctor's office and three possible
answers. Ages 4-6.

Madison, Arnold. Drugs and You. Julian Messner. For the young child,
this factual, non threatening book presents a well-balanced and in-depth
approach to information on drugs and drug people use drugs; the
affect different drugs have on mind and body; withdrawal and treatment. Ages
9-11 years.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Through Grampa's Eyes. HarperCollins. A young boy
learns to understand his grandfather's blindness. Ages 7-9.

Nourse, Alan E. Viruses. Franklin Watts. Clearly written and well
illustrated. Introduction to the discovery of viruses and the development of
vaccines. Ages 8-12 years.

Rabe, Bernice. The Balancing Girl. Dutton. Illustrated by Lillian
Hoban. Story of a girl who is confined to a wheelchair and can balance things
remarkably. Ages 7-9.

Raskin, Ellen. Spectacles. Aladdin. Story about a girl who needs
glasses. Ages 4-6.

Rockwell, Harlow. The Emergency Room. Macmillian. A picture book about
the emergency room for very young children. Other books by the author include
My Doctor and My Dentist.

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Germs. Holiday House. Brief account of the
story of germs that cause measles, flu, tuberculosis, and other diseases.
Ages 7-12 years.

The Sesame Street Fire Safety Book. The Sesame Street characters help
teach preschoolers and young children about fire safety and prevention.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. FA-73

Zim, Herbert S. Your Stomach and Digestive Tract. William Morrow.
Detailed illustrations and clear, concise text describe the functions of the
four organs of digestion. Ages 8-10 years.

Consumer Information Catalog. A free catalog that lists many U.S.
government publications in print and how to obtain copies. Consumer
Information Centre, P.O. Box 100, Pueblo, Colorado 81002.

General Health: Pantell, Robert H., James F. Fries, and Donald M.
Vickery. Taking Care of Your Child. Addison-Wesley. A parent's guide to
medical care.

Nutrition: Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Tips on how to eat right. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition
Information Service, 6505 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

The Food Guide Pyramid. A guide that shows how to eat right and lead a
healthy lifestyle. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Safety: Fire Strikes Back. A packet of resources including family plans
that educate children on the dangers of playing with fire. U.S. Fire
Administration, Office of Fire Prevention and Arson Control.

Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Instructions on how to prepare and
use a disaster relief kit. Federal Emergency Management Agency. P.O. Box
70274, Washington, DC 20024. FEMA-189

Drug Prevention: Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention.
A booklet that provides tips for parents on how to teach children about drugs
and what parents can do in the fight against drugs. U.S. Department of
Education. For free copy call toll-free 1-800-624-0100 (in DC area


This book was made possible with help from Tim Burr, who provided
information from other government agencies; Bernice Barth, who compiled the
bibliography; and Tim McCarty, who contributed to the bibliography. Francie
Alexander, Liz Barnes, Elaine Palazzo, Theodor Rebarber, and Rikki Smoot, and
Rose Tobelmann provided suggestions and guidance to the project. Phil Carr
and Donna DiToto designed the book.

Many of the activities are taken from ideas first presented in Imagine
That, written by Joyce King and Carol Katzman.

What We Can Do To Help Our Children Learn:

Listen to them and pay attention to their problems.

Read with them.

Tell family stories.

Limit their television watching.

Have books and other reading materials in the house.

Look up words in the dictionary with them.

Encourage them to use an encyclopaedia.

Share favourite poems and songs with them.

Take them to the library-get them their own library

Take them to museums and historical sites, when possible.

Discuss the daily news with them.

Go exploring with them and lean about plants, animals, and local

Find a quiet place for them to study.

Review their homework.

Meet with their teachers.

Do you have other ideas?

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