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Practice 5-2-1-0 all year: Ideas for September

| Healthy You | 5-2-1-0 | Kids Health

Dad coloring with daughter

Drawing can help your family relieve stress and spend less time with screens.

It’s easy to pick up on 5-2-1-0 right here — right now!

This approach helps your family focus on some basic healthy habits. Eating and drinking things that are good for you. Being smart about screen time and being physically active. They make good sense for everyone.

You can get creative about how to put these habits into practice. Here are some ideas to try in September:

To eat 5 veggies and fruits per day  –  Pack school lunches together. 

It’s not rocket science. And chances are you already do it. Either way, think about making the most of school lunchtime with this habit in mind. Consider the following:

  • Serving sizes for young children are smaller than for adults. Those little tummies can fill up fast. For example, a 5-year-old needs just ¼ cup of veggies as a serving and only about half of a medium size fruit. Learn more about serving sizes by age
  • Let your child pick one veggie and one fruit from a few suitable options. 
  • Some forms “travel” better than others. Think mushy banana vs. banana chips. Explore options that match your child’s likes.
  • Keep in mind your child’s age when you decide what to offer. Think easy — for you — and safe — for them. Maybe applesauce vs. grapes. Grapes can be a choking hazard unless you cut them up.
  • If your little one tends to eat slowly, consider choices that make it easier to finish their lunch. Would squeeze pouches of fruit and veggie puree work? To save money, you might experiment with making your own at home.
  • As your conscience allows, sneak a veggie or fruit into something your child readily eats. That could be a slice of zucchini bread or a banana muffin.

If your kids come home from school famished, try these kid-friendly snack recipes

To keep screen time under two hours  –  Draw pictures or color.

Consider doing this with your kiddos. They’ll enjoy your company and undivided attention. You might benefit from the practice as well. Studies show that drawing and other creative activities reduce stress and anxiety.

Maybe draw something that will help you remember your summer vacation. Or make pictures of what you want to try in the future. If drawing causes stress, switch to coloring instead. It’s a powerful way of focusing attention and living in the moment.

Short on paper? Check the recycling bin. You can use the back of envelopes from junk mail. And maybe you’ll feel less guilty if the end product goes back to the bin later.

Is the front of your refrigerator door already plastered with art? Agree on a plan for what to do with the pictures. Maybe put a date on the page and remove it from the kitchen art gallery after a month. Put “keepers” in a file to sort through later.

Or consider sharing them with others. Grandparents Day is in September. If your child’s grandparents aren’t around, talk with older people in your neighborhood or house of worship. They might enjoy a special piece of art.

To get one hour of daily movement   –   Play up the playground. 

Ask your kiddos to show you their favorite playground equipment. Or have them explain the games they like to play during recess. 

If you can, visit the school playground. Or go to a park with the kind of equipment your kids like.

Share what you enjoyed as a child. 

Check your kids’ knowledge about playground safety

To encourage zero-sugar drinks  –  Update your child’s reusable water bottle.

Has your child’s water bottle worn out? See what’s available in back-to-school sales. You might also find affordable options at a thrift store. 

If getting a whole new bottle seems wasteful, you might replace the part that’s showing wear. 

Did a perfectly good bottle go missing? Send your kiddos on a hunt. Maybe it’s under the bed, in the back of a closet, the car or a friend’s house. Or check the lost and found box at the soccer field, ballpark or school.