(Sponsored Post) It’s a new year, and for many of us it’s a time to assess our health and resolve to shed a few pounds, add more fruits and vegetables to our diets, get more exercise and generally do what we can to make ourselves and our families healthier.
It’s also a good time to take stock of the health of your child’s school. After all, that’s where they spend most of their time outside of your home—nearly 1,200 hours each year. Start with a simple quiz to see what you know about your child’s school. Does the school:
- Allow adequate time for kids to have recess?
- Provide active indoor recess to ensure kids get physical activity during inclement weather?
- Ask parents to bring healthy snacks instead of sweet treats for birthdays and celebrations?
- Incorporate active games and non-food rewards as part of classroom celebrations?
- Provide opportunities for physical activity during the school day, such as brain breaks in the classroom?
- Adhere to Smart Snacks standards for school meals and foods sold in school?
- Host healthy fundraisers involving nutritious foods or physical activity?
If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, don’t despair. Join your school’s or PTA’s wellness team and find out! Then pick an area where you can make a difference. Get inspired by others like Tara Fisher-Munoz, a parent in Austin, Texas who took her passion and expertise in gardening to form the Go Green Team PTA with other volunteers and start the school’s garden program. Or Dana Dougherty, a parent and substitute teacher in Arlington, Virginia, who worked with her PTA to set up the 2FIT2QUIT team, that organized 5Ks and family fitness fairs and secured pedal desks to keep kids active while learning.
These parents started with big ideas but small steps. They and many others will attest that once you get started, it’s hard to stop, because just one program can spur a culture of health at school. By getting involved in school wellness, you can also help reinforce those healthy habits your kids are learning at home – and likely learn something new for a healthier you, too.
Amy Moyer, MPH, RD, is the VP Field Operations with Action for Healthy Kids and mother of two girls.
Action for Healthy Kids is a National PTA sponsor and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA.