For parents, one of the primary responsibilities is taking care of their child’s physical well-being, from regular check-ups and immunizations to healthy eating and plenty of exercise to use up all that energy. Setting a good example for kids is key, and we also want to instill good habits that will last even after they leave the nest. So this year, let’s focus on inspiring our kids to come up with their own ways to take healthy responsibility.
National Child Health Day timeline
Dance marathon movement begins — to support pediatric hospitals
Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a movement benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America. College, university, and high school students get to meet patient families treated at local hospitals, participate in the dance marathon, and announce their annual fundraising total.
A new date to celebrate
Originally observed on May 1, National Child Health Day moves to the first Monday in October.
National Child Health Day began
Responding to pleas from both the American Federation of Labor and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, in 1928, President Calvin Coolidge issued a Child Health Day Proclamation. It was first celebrated on May 1, 1929, and every year since, the current president has proclaimed the day on which it is observed.
How to Observe National Child Health Day
Get cooking, kids!
Find some "kid chef" recipes and make a plan (with approval from your parents) to cook a healthy meal or snack. Even if your mom or dad has to do the parts that involve sharp knives, you’ll all have fun together, and it’s surprisingly satisfying to eat food you’ve planned and prepared yourself. And you just might discover a hidden talent!
Surprise your parents
If you have a yard, there are probably plenty of chores like raking up leaves you can get done this time of year. If you have an apartment balcony instead of a yard, you could get that cleaned up before the winter weather sets in. Regular household jobs, like vacuuming, provide a real workout, while hand-washing dishes slows things down and gives your brain a break.
Try a new activity
Think meditation is only for adults? With just five to ten minutes a day, the same benefits of meditation, including increasing mental alertness, reducing anxiety, and greater physical energy, have been shown to apply to children as young as four. Parents, why not learn a new dance with your kids? Many dance studios have classes your whole family can participate in — a fun way to get moving, enjoy great music, and learn something new!
4 Ways To Turn Healthy Cooking Into Child's Play
Balance screen time with kitchen time
While searching the Internet is a super-efficient way to find recipes, meal plans, food suppliers, and inspiration, it's good to challenge to yourself to give equal time to hands-on meal preparation.
Getting to know the locals
Check out your local farmer’s markets, which can offer not just locally-grown, seasonal produce, meat, and seafood, but also vegetable and herb plants you can use to enhance your recipes.
Tired of Taco Tuesday? Start a new tradition
Wake up your taste buds with updates to menu classics — how about Tortellini Tuesday or Fajita Friday?
Go on, play with your food
Eating would probably not give us much pleasure if it didn’t look good, so even if you’re just warming up a can of soup, try adding a little chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or another kind of garnish to elevate the experience of eating even the simplest of meals.
Why National Child Health Day is Important
Healthy living is a daily choice
Most of us have a daily routine that’s so regular, we don’t have to consciously think about it — from what we eat for breakfast to brushing our teeth before bed. So on National Child Health Day, let’s make a point of paying attention to the choices we make that affect our health, and think about ways we can introduce healthier foods and activities into our lives.
Gratitude pays off
It’s natural to take good health for granted — until we get sick or injured. (Have you ever tried to dress yourself with a broken arm or leg?) Or maybe you know someone at school who’s in a wheelchair or uses crutches. We can take just one minute each day to notice and be thankful for our good health, including vision, mobility, and the ability to simply breathe. And guess what? The gratitude we feel has also been shown to have health benefits.
It reminds us that it’s all about the balance
Yes, our health is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. If we think of being healthy as enjoyable, rather than something we’re “supposed” to do, we’re more likely to look forward to outdoor activities, planning delicious meals with our families, and fitting in some restorative quiet time as well. (Our parents are right about taking those naps!)