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Nutrition Tips for Healthy Eating

Get Your Child Off the Couch!

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “…an estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years of age are overweight.” There are many factors that have contributed to this statistic, one of which is lack of exercise.

Most kids complain about having to turn off the T.V. or video games. They’d rather be holding a remote or game controller than a football or jump rope. But getting kids off the couch and into the great outdoors has many health benefits. It helps keep children busy so they are less likely to snack when they aren’t hungry, keeps them active which burns calories, and encourages a healthy lifestyle which benefits them in the future.

The American Heart Association estimates that most kids get 4 to 6 hours of computer, gaming, or T.V. watching a day. Experts recommend less than 1 to 2 hours daily. So how to get the kids up and moving? Here are some suggestions from the AHA:

  • Make a list of alternative activities, such as playing sports outside, walking pets, or going on a bike ride. If necessary, write them down and keep the list by the T.V. to remind your child the next time he/she heads for the tube.
  • Be active as a family. Play catch, go rollerblading, or plan a relay race. Kids enjoy spending time with parents. This also sends the message that exercise is important.
  • Remove the T.V. from the bedrooms and don’t allow your child to watch television during meal times.
  • Limit the number of hours they watch T.V. by planning the shows ahead of time. Let your child pick one or two shows and only watch those.
  • Don’t use television or video game time as a reward.
  • Set a good example. If you sit on the couch or stare at the computer for hours at a time, it sends a mixed message to your child. The best way to change your child’s behavior is to “practice what you preach.”

For more ideas on how you and your family can get active and have fun together, Web MD has even more great suggestions.

Practice Fluency for Better Comprehension

Fluent reading is the key to comprehending text. If your child isn’t a fluent reader, she won’t understand what she is reading. Contrary to popular belief, fluency is not speed-reading. So what is fluency? It’s reading a passage in a flowing, smooth manner with expression.

Children become fluent readers with practice, both at school and at home. So what can you do outside the classroom to help your child build fluency?

  • First, find out what your child’s reading level is, and locate some books that he can read independently. If he stumbles over five or more words on the page, the book is too difficult.
  • Depending on the age and ability of the child, the “me, us, you” method works well. Read a short book or passage aloud, then read it together, and finally have your child read it alone. Be sure to model expressive reading.
  • Allow and encourage your child to read the same thing multiple times. The more she reads it, the more successful she will be.
  • Find some age-appropriate poetry to read together. Poetry often has a rhythm and rhyming, which helps children read at a steady pace, thereby improving fluency. Find some fun poems by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky to start, then move on to more difficult poems.
  • Though fluency is not speed-reading, some children enjoy being timed. See how many words your child can read in one minute. Then, several days later, time him again. Chances are he’ll read more words the second time around, which will help to build his confidence.

Most importantly, fluency comes from reading—as much as possible. The more she reads, the better your child will read. Talk to your child’s teacher about other ways you can help out at home.

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