It’s no surprise that a child’s environment – where they live, play and go to school – plays a major role in their health and wellbeing. Having access to education, nutritious food, water and green spaces in which to play are vital in preventing disease, improving social skills, and helping children to reach their full potential.
Eating a nutritious diet need not be expensive – it could even fun! Why not buy your fresh fruit and veg from your local farmer’s market next weekend? Not only will this save you money, it will provide your child with the opportunity to see a broader range of fruits and veggies and to understand where their food is coming from.
Another fun and interactive project is to plant your own herb or veggie garden – what child doesn’t love to play around in the dirt? Involving your child in growing some of their own food can be a great starting point for conversations about the types of foods that will help them to grow up healthy and strong and those which should only be eaten sometimes.
Cooking with your child will also encourage them to be more adventurous with the types of foods they will eat and broaden the range of veggies they will be willing to try. It will also show that veggies and healthy foods need not be boring and that they can be combined with other healthy foods such as freshly grown herbs to create really yummy dishes – and the best part is they made it themselves!
Digital devices, gaming consoles and even the humble television can prevent children from getting the exercise they need to be healthy. We are all a bit guilty of spending too much time on our phones, so why not lead by example and swap the phone for the park?
Community playgrounds are designed to encourage kids (and adults!) to get active – and the best part is they are free! You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to be healthy, light exercise such as walking to and from your local park or playing a game of tag with the kids is all it takes for you and your family to reap the benefits of exercise. You could also arrange to meet your children’s friends and their families to extend the fun. Not only will this take your game of tag to the next level, but it will do wonders for your child’s social and emotional wellbeing.
If you don’t have adequate community spaces in your area or they could do with some improvements or a revamp, why not involve your children in designing these spaces – this could include anything from planning a playground in the backyard, to redesigning their local playground or coming up with games and activities they would like to do. You could also share these ideas with your local Councillor. How exciting would it be for your child to play in a playground they designed?!