Back in the day, it wasn’t hard to lure children outdoors to play. But with cellphones, social media, video games and the like, more children are turning into couch potatoes — and at earlier ages. PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month takes place every November. This year’s theme is “Get Off Your Apps.” Let’s encourage children to turn off their devices and connect with family and friends through constructive play, family exercise, and physical education programs at school and at home.
PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month - History
National PTA celebrated its centennial
National PTA officials, members, and guests enjoyed festivities during the organization's 100-year anniversary gala.
PTA pushed its math initiative
As a way to encourage students to master or even overcome a fear of math, the PTA developed Free Math Matters kits for local elementary, junior high, and middle school PTA chapters.
Two advocacy groups joined forces in unity
The National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers merged with the National Congress of Parents and Teachers to share resources and become one efficient, super organization benefiting parents, teachers, and schools.
Government agency shipped a million books to Appalachia
The U.S Office of Economic Opportunity supported the Books for Appalachia project by shipping more than a million books to area schools.
The PTA was instrumental in field testing the Salk polio vaccine in schools
As a way to promote efforts to keep school children healthy from early childhood through high school, the PTA worked with school nurses to field test the ground-breaking Salk polio vaccine.
How to Observe PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month
1. Host a healthy cooking demonstration
Let students make recipe suggestions and see if you can modify things like chili dogs to be healthier but full of flavor. If you do it at school, ask if the students can help put the event together and assist with food tastings. Have one student take photos and post your creations on Instagram or at least get pictures for the school yearbook.
2. Host a “Get Off Your Apps” event
Since this month's theme is "Get Off Your Apps", the challenge is to find activities that are so much fun that kids will be happy to turn off their devices, at least for a little while. Set up a scavenger hunt in the backyard or sign your family up for Zumba in the school gym. Whatever you do, make it a fun family time.
3. Get local businesses involved
Even if you don't have children at home, you can still participate in PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month. Contact businesses in your community who may have in-kind donations or actual financial contributions they can make to the PTA. Explain that the money helps the PTA continue its important advocacy work on behalf of schools, teachers, and children.
5 Reasons Why The PTA Still Matters After 100 Years
1. It was started by mothers
Just before the turn of the century, the PTA started out as the National Congress of Mothers through the efforts of Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, two moms who worked to protect children from dangerous working conditions, unsanitary living conditions, and poverty.
2. Its members pay dues
In 1974, national convention delegates voted for an increase in dues from 10 cents to a whopping 20 cents annually.
3. It provides leadership on healthy school-based programs
Thanks to the PTA, many American schoolchildren enjoy public health service and hot, healthy meals through lunch programs.
4. It works to ensure age-appropriate television content
The PTA provides guidance on television content for children by suggesting ratings guidelines.
5. It supported the concept of a separate juvenile justice system
The PTA showed leadership in championing a separate juvenile justice system for children so that they wouldn't be tried and incarcerated as adults.
Why PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month is Important
A. It advocates for America's children
It's hard to believe that the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has been in existence since 1897. Miraculously, it has kept up with the changing times by forming strong bonds with schools, students, and communities. PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month in November plays up the PTA's overall mission to help children lead well-balanced lives. The core goals of the organization are to be mindful of diversity, find areas of collaboration between schools and communities, as well as to maintain a commitment to keeping schoolchildren safe and respected.
B. Its theme is "Get Off Your Apps"
“Get Off Your Apps” is a catchy theme to encourage increased physical activity in elementary and middle schools throughout November. The theme plays off a newly-developed mobile app that aids parents in promoting responsible digital use, while encouraging children to come out of their rooms, turn off their devices and get moving. There are built-in protections within the app that help parents not only manage their children’s screen time with designated step goals — but also to block access to other apps until those goals are met.
C. It promotes healthy nutrition and a well-balanced lifestyle
The PTA promotes a Healthy Lifestyles Initiative that encourages schools to give children healthy, nutritional food and create time for physical activity. As part of the initiative, the PTA "ensures that all foods, beverages and snacks sold or served meet National School Nutrition Standards." Students should exercise regularly on campus and be able to access ongoing physical education to keep both minds and bodies fit. The PTA also holds school districts accountable for developing, implementing, and putting into practice district-wide wellness policies that provide students with a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy living.