What Healthier Kids Do Differently


The YMCA embraces a holistic approach to positive youth development. Our staff are professional role models who nurture the potential of each child on their unique journeys from birth to career. But the Y cannot do this work alone. In 10,000 communities across the country, families and caretakers play a critical role in the development of youth.

As we head into 2016, the Y encourages families to adopt new healthy habits to help children and teens achieve success in all aspects of their lives Here are three simple ways to get started:

1. Be A Positive Role Model: Encourage healthy habits in your home with friendly competition and family challenges. Come up with your own challenges such as keeping track of who drinks more water, walks the most steps, or reads books more often. The Y can assist with creating fun activities and providing resources like ready-made rules and scorecards – just ask!

2. Reduce Screen Time: Children younger than 2 should have no exposure to TV, cell phones, or other digital devices. For children older than 2, the recommended screentime is less than one hour per day. Replace screentime with creative projects or at-home STEM activities. For additional suggestions, ask your Y’s dedicated youth development staff.

3. Encourage Choosing Water: When it comes to beverages, make water the primary option for yourself and your children. Unflavored low-fat or nonfat milk are also healthy choices. Limiting unhealthy beverage choices increases the likelihood that children will choose these options and develop healthier thirst-quenching habits. Resources that encourage drinking more water are available at www.ymca.net/healthy-family-home

Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas