Body: Keeping Your Child Healthy

  • Active play, every day. To grow and be healthy, your child needs to run, play, and be active. When your child gets enough exercise he is healthier and happier. Play with your child and show him that you have fun being active too.
  • Limit screen time. Children are not active when they are watching TV or playing on a computer. These screen-based activities are not recommended for children under 2 years of age. After that, continue to limit the time your child spends in front of a screen.
  • Help your child get enough sleep. Most children need about 10 to 14 hours of sleep each day. The younger your child, the more sleep she needs. Without the right amount of sleep, a child's body cannot grow properly. Make a regular bedtime part of your daily routine. A quiet time during the day is a good idea even if your child does not sleep.
  • Keeping clean and keeping well. Keeping clean is an important part of staying healthy. Teach your child to wash his hands often. Explain that he will stay clean and safe from germs. Even when your child is a baby, he only needs a bath 2 or 3 times a week. Keep his face, hands and bottom clean every day.
  • Clean your child's mouth. Take care of your baby's gums even before the teeth come in. Later, help your child to brush her teeth in the morning and before bed.
  • Get regular check-ups. Take your child to a health care provider and to the dentist for regular check-ups. Make sure your child is immunized.

Key Message
Give your child a smoke-free home. Your child needs you to protect him from second-hand smoke.

Fun & Easy Activities

An Obstacle Course at Home

Being active can help your child maintain a healthy weight and have more energy. An obstacle course will encourage your child to move her body in different ways. You can make one in the kitchen or outdoors in the backyard. You can even make a simple one in the park. You have all the materials you need in your home.

For example, if your baby is crawling, open both ends of a large cardboard box. This makes a tunnel. Put her at one end and a toy at the other. Encourage your baby to crawl through the box and get the toy. Build longer obstacle courses as your child gets older and bigger.

Add more challenges to develop her skills. Here are some ideas:

  • Turn a chair on its side. Your child crawls over the legs of the chair.
  • Make a circle with string on the ground. Your child jumps in and out of the circle three times.
  • Put a pair of shoes on the ground. Your child runs around the shoes three times in one direction, then three times in the other direction.
  • Make a straight line with string on the ground. Your child walks keeping her feet on the string.
  • Give your child a small plastic bag with rice in it. Make sure it is tightly closed. Your child stands still and balances the bag on her head while you count to ten.
  • Make this more difficult by asking your child to stand on one leg with the bag on her head. Or ask her to keep the bag on her head and walk backwards ten steps.

Your child will have even more fun if you do the obstacle course with her. Show your child that you have fun being active. Your child learns more from your example than almost anything else.

Good Clean Fun

Children do not always want to wash their hands, take a bath or brush their teeth. It will be easier if you make these activities fun to do.

When your child washes his hands, sing the "ABC" song with him. It will help him understand how long he should be washing. Use lots of soap and rub his hands together to make sure all areas are covered with soap suds. Then rinse his hands under warm running water.

Toys like cups, empty plastic bottles, or sponges make bath night fun. Wash your child while he pours water from one cup into another.

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

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