Join the thousands of parents and supporters of Missouri's public schools to learn what you can do to help!

Everything listed under: Healthy Habits

  • Child Development in the First Five Years

    Proper rest, good nutrition, and a safe home life are things that many of us take for granted, but that Missouri children born into poverty struggle with every day. From birth through kindergarten, a child’s home environment and basic care provisions have a huge impact on their educational success later in live.

    Missouri Parent believes that the first five years are critical to a child’s success, which is why we created this series of posts called Child Development in the First Five Years. You can read each post in the series on the Missouri Parent Blog:

    Child Development in the First Five Years

    Child Development in the First Five Years: The Importance of Rest

    Child Development in the First Five Years: Proper Nutrition is Key

    Child Development in the First Five Years: A Healthy Home Life

    Tweet about child development in the first five years using the hashtag #EarlyEd.

    The first five years make a difference in a child’s life, affecting their ability to learn and thrive in kindergarten and beyond. If you have friends with young children at home, we hope that you’ll share this series of posts.

    If you’d like to keep learning about ways to help kids succeed in Missouri public schools, bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter.


  • BAM! The CDC Connects with Kids through Games, Cartoons, and Activities Online

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the country’s health protection agency, providing information and resources to help protect citizens from health and safety threats. But did you know that the CDC hosts an entire website that’s devoted entirely to the health of our nation’s young people?

    The BAM! Body and Mind website includes videos, games, and other content designed specifically for kids. Content is organized under six categories: Diseases, Food & Nutrition, Physical Activity, Your Safety, Your Life, and Your Body.

    The site offers a range of research-supported information presented in kid-friendly formats. A few examples include:

    Cartoons Like “The Immune Platoon” and “The Ad Decoder
    Games Like “Dining Decisions
    Activity Cards for Sports & Activities and Activity Safety

    Of course, the CDC offers information on youth health & safety that’s designed to be used by adult readers, too. You can find the CDC’s Adolescent and School Health pages here.

    If student health and nutrition in Missouri’s public schools is something that you’d like to learn more about, check out these posts from the Missouri Parent Blog:

    Creating a Healthier Home in the New Year
    9 Missouri Schools Earn Extra Credit for Healthy Choices
    Making Sure Missouri’s Kids Eat Breakfast
    The Summer Food Service Program: Preventing Summertime Hunger
    Free Printables That Teach Healthy Eating Habits 


  • Free Printables That Teach Healthy Eating Habits


    From 2008 to 2011, Missouri showed one of the largest declines in the nation in childhood obesity rates according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (source).

    According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, however, Missouri is still one of the heaviest states in the nation with more than 31% of our 10-17 year olds and more than 30% of our adult population qualifying as overweight or obese (source).

    If you’re a parent or a teacher in Missouri who wants to teach your kids about healthy eating and active living, Nourish Interactive has some fun resources available to you absolutely free.

    Dozens of nutrition, meal planning, and active living printables are available for download from the Nourish Interactive website. Some of the printables are in color, some are in black-and-white, but all are fun, free ways to teach your children (or your students) about healthy food choices.

    Choose from learning sheets, nutrition-fitness worksheets, writing activities, healthy coloring sheets, and nutrition sheets for ages 0-13, or search by grade level, pre-k through 5.

    These free printables can help kids learn about the food groups, vitamins, minerals and nutrition vocabulary. And for parents who want to take nutrition education one step further, there are printables about kids’ gardening, kids’ cooking, healthy goal-setting, and fitness tracking. And as an added bonus, each printable is downloadable in English and in Spanish.

    Here are a few of our favorite printables from Nourish Interactive:

    Chef Solus Color My Plate Drawing Page
    Fitness and Nutrition Alphabet Words Using Letter A
    (there’s one of these for every letter in the alphabet!)
    Compare Food Labels Worksheet
    Five Food Groups Tracking Sheet - Color the Stars
    Childrens’ Lunchbox Notes - General Nutrition

    If childhood nutrition interests you, check out these past posts from the Missouri Parent Blog:

    Creating a Healthier Home in the New Year
    9 Missouri Schools Earn Extra Credit for Healthy Choices
    Making Sure Missouri’s Kids Eat Breakfast
    The Summer Food Service Program: Preventing Summertime Hunger

  • Protecting Your Kids Against Eye Strain

    Eye strain can occur after too much time on a computer, tablet, video games, or too much time watching TV.

    Don’t think you or your child could suffer from eye strain? According to the Vision Council, neither does 70% of the rest of the population, but it takes as little as two hours a day of looking at a screen to strain your eyes.

    Tips for Preventing Eye Strain:
    · Turn down the brightness on your child’s monitor(s)
    · Keep the screen clean
    · Be conscious of your child’s computer ergonomics (Check out this post from Apple to learn how)
    · Make sure your child takes frequent breaks from the screen
    · Use the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, your child should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
    · Set computer screens up 20-26 inches from your eyes and a little bit below eye level
    · Avoid glare on screens from competing light sources (windows, desk lamps, bright overhead lights, etc.)
    · Encourage your kids to spend time playing away from their devices
    · Limit screen time: Kids shouldn’t spend more than 2 hours or so each day, combined, on screens
    · Take your son or daughter for regular eye exams

    Have you or your child experienced eye strain first hand? What suggestions would you offer to other Missouri parents? Leave a comment today on the Missouri Parent Blog or on our Facebook Page.


  • International Walk to School Day – October 9, 2013


    Across the United States, more than 3,000 organizers will host International Walk to School Day events on October 9th. Will your school be one of them?

    International Walk to School Day is celebrated in more than 40 countries worldwide. The program began in 1997 and has since grown from a single-day program to driving a year-round campaign advocating for safe pedestrian routes to school.

    Schools from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. will participate in International Walk to School Day 2013, but so far only 21 of those are in Missouri.

    It’s not too late for you to register your community for International Walk to School Day. One Illinois school waited until just before the big day to organize their event:

    “This was the first time our school participated in Walk to School Day and we got started only a few days before the event. We received lots of positive feedback from all the families that participated and are encouraged about doing it again next year.” 

    Why Participate

    Walking to school is good for the environment, and it’s also fun and healthy

    According to the International Walk to School Day website, “Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime.”

    When students in your neighborhood walk together, it promotes a strong sense of community. And when you walk together with your kids, you’ll feel closer to your community, too.

    How to Participate
    · Walk from home or from a neighborhood meet-up spot.
    · Designate a community meet-up spot for families who live in rural areas. Make sure there’s plenty of parking, and encourage parents to walk with their kids from the designated meet-up spot to school.
    · Upload Your Photos [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/node/add/event-photos] of International Walk to School Day!
    · Visit the Walk to School website for more ideas!

    Missouri’s 21 Walk to School Day schools are located in Belton, Blue Springs, Bolivar, Columbia, Eldon, Independence, Kansas City, Lake Saint Louis, New Haven, St. Louis and University City. For details on each of those events, and to see if communities have registered new events, visit the Walk to School website.

    More Helpful Walk to School Day Links
    Planning Tips [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/get-set/plan-the-event]
    Tips for First-Timers [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/get-set/plan-the-event/first-time-tips]
    Ways to Participate [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/ready/about-our-work/ways-to-participate]
    Pedestrian Safety Tips [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/safety]
    Pedestrian Safety Resources [http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/keep-going/pedestrian-safety]

    Is your child’s education important to you? Follow Missouri Parent on Facebook or Twitter, and sign up for Missouri Parent email updates at the top of this page.

    Don’t Miss MOParent’s Back to School Safety Month post on Walking & Biking to School.


3550 Amazonas Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109. 573-638-4825

trg