The Healthy Learning Curve

Ensuring your child exercises is just as important as cognitive development when it comes to learning. As it turns out, hitting the books isn’t the only way to get the most out of their education. During the last week of April, Every Kid Healthy Week is celebrated around the country and focuses on showing the links among nutrition, physical activity and learning.

There’s a lot you can do to teach your kids about healthy eating habits, and how much fun fitness can be.

Organize a family fitness night and get everyone active a few nights a week. It can be as simple as a brisk walk after dinner, or you can get creative and set up a tug-of-war, obstacle course or sack race.

  • Start a garden. You don’t have to have a backyard—there are indoor herb and lettuce planters you can set up right inside your home or on a patio or balcony. Studies have shown that teaching your children about cooking and gardening can increase their fruit and vegetable intake by nearly 1½ servings a day.
     
  • Enroll your child in an after-school program and see what your local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club has to offer. Just 20 to 30 minutes of after-school physical activity should do the trick, which can be easily accomplished by joining a sports team or dance or karate class.
     
  • Cut down on screen time. Kids are bound to be more active when their computer and TV time is set at a reasonable limit. Simple changes, such as not putting a TV in their bedroom and turning off the television during dinner, can make a big difference.
     
  • Say goodbye to soda. This is a change that everyone should make, as sodas have a negative impact on our teeth and our body. Replace sodas with water or milk, and get your child a cool reusable water bottle so they’ll be excited to fill it up and use it at school.