Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In 2016, Let’s Go With 5, 2, 1, 0

By: Dr. Linda Carson

When I was in college I had a professor of early childhood who lectured that “children grow predictably, but their development depends.” In other words, growth (or maturation) will unfold inevitably, but development depends on life experiences. This is a very powerful statement worth reflecting on by adults. Healthy child development depends on the living and learning environments that are created and nurtured by grownups. It is awe-inspiring to be reminded that child development actually depends on the many decisions made on behalf of children by parents, grandparents, teachers, or other significant adults in the life of a young person. We are literally responsible for helping a child develop preferences, resiliency, decision-making, self esteem, social skills, respect for others, healthy habits, and the list goes on and on.
The relationship that parents share with their children has lifelong impact. Studies show that the benefits of sustained parental involvement affect all areas of a child's life, including health, academic progress, and life choices. More “family time” is associated with fewer high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse and delinquency, and lower rates of depression, eating disorders, and antisocial behavior. Other studies have shown that family rituals and traditions are associated with positive mental health outcomes.

So I’d like to suggest a healthy family ritual for 2016 that can impact the quality of life for all family members and have impact for years to come. Let’s embrace the 5, 2, 1, 0 campaign advocated by American Academy of Pediatrics and the Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. The 5, 2, 1, 0 messages encourage:
  • 5 or more fruits and veggies a day: A diet (meals and snacks) rich in fruits and veggies is associated with lower rates of chronic disease and may help prevent weight gain
  • 2 hours or less screen time per day: Screen time promotes sedentary behavior, attention problems, and takes away from important and influential family time
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity daily: Move more! Children and adults will experience health benefits by increasing and enjoying physical activity each day.
  • 0 sugary beverages: Consumption of soda pop, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, powdered drinks, and even bottled sweetened tea is associated with cavities and excessive weight gain.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness have created Growing Healthy resource materials to help us. I especially like the family goal setting worksheet that will help us get started in 2016 with the 5, 2, 1, 0 approach to developing healthy habits. The Family Goal Setting worksheet also has great ideas for getting started. Print copies after downloading it here.
If you have children in your home, use this goal setting approach as a new family ritual and consider downloading our monthly calendars for more ideas for family fun. If you work with families share this information with them. If you do not have children in your home, use this goal setting worksheet for beginning to plan and document a new personal ritual. Be sure that your goals are small and achievable. If five fruits and veggies are unachievable to start, then challenge yourself with a number that can be do-able and increase as you adjust and enjoy. I suggest making your goals visible around your home on the fridge door, bathroom mirror, or a home bulletin board. Maybe you’ll decide to focus on just one of the messages and gradually add each of the others as you make progress. You can decide how to get started and how to use this information to reap health benefits that you will never regret.

So in 2016, let’s remember that children grow predictably, but their development depends---on YOU! And if health is wealth, let’s invest wisely. Happy, healthy New Year from your friends at Choosy Kids!

About the Author: Linda Carson, Ed. D, is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, LLC, and the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. An award winning, nationally recognized expert, Dr. Carson has devoted her career to promoting healthy preferences for young children and the adults who make decisions on their behalf. Click here to learn more about Linda.

32 comments :

  1. Awesome post! These are excellent tips to keep children on track :) Fun too!

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    1. Thanks. Doing fun things is what matters most!

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  2. Very wise! Healthy bodies - healthy minds. I'm a firm believer in that! Thanks for sharing all of this!

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  3. Great tips, and an awesome (and easy) way to remember them. Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. We are really working on less scene time for our entire family. It's going well so far but we've been keeping it to 3 hours a day and I would love to move it back to 2.

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    1. I don't know where you are from but I know here in the cold season it is really hard to decrease screen time. That hour can sometimes be an eternity for a mom :)

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  5. My kids could definitely stand a bit less screen time this year. I think I am going to implement that actually!

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  6. Really great info & advice. Sadly our grown kids will not pay attention to our grandkids nutrition. They all eat way too much sugar, junk fast foods, etc. It saddens me.

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    1. Hopefully the grandkids will learn on their own what is healthy. We've seen this happen when Choosy is used in the classroom and then the students go home and educate the parents. Check out www.choosykids.com and maybe drop us an email to see if Choosy could somehow visit their school!

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  7. Great formula to live by! Not just for kids, but adults as well :)

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  8. Wonderful tips! Environment and health play such an important role in a child's development.

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  9. I don't have kids but I will share it with my friends who are having kids. Wonderful tips shared!

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    1. You could even implement it into your life :)

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  10. I agree with you on this. Definitely, everything starts at home with the parents. I love the idea of the 5-2-1-0 goal, I think it's a great way to teach your kids to live a healthy lifestyle.

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    1. Although sometimes it starts in school and the kids educate the parents :)

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  11. Great post! Thank you for sharing it. It's important to get children into the habit of a healthy lifestyle.

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  12. These are great tips! We definitely do our best to stick with this in our family!

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  13. Such a wonderful tips, this is such a nice way to do love kids about healthy lifestyle.

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  14. I love the printables! I'd stick a copy to the fridge as a reminder for the family. I'd also clean out all sugary snacks and drinks. Cheers to a healthy 2016!

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    1. So glad you like the printable a! And way to go with clearing things out.

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  15. I love this post. What a great way to promote health living and positive family life

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  16. This is a great post to read and to share. Happy to have come across it today. Happy New Year to you!

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  17. I love the 5, 2, 1, 0 logic! I prefer my kids spend less than 2 hours daily on devices, and have been known to hide them. You are absolutely correct they create more problems then they are worth.

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    1. Hehe. Sometimes when things are out of sight then they are also out of mind.

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  18. Kids health is so important. Many don't realize that what they eat now affects them in the long run.

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