A Tree Grows

Read The Story

Activities and Discussions

Silly Lilly Stays Healthy

Very young children are not able to understand the concept of patience but there are other aspects of this story that can be discussed.

Two and three year olds

Teaching children the habits of healthy living can be done by modeling healthy choices and by creating an environment that fosters health. By discussing healthy choices with children, you create an awareness that they will internalize in time.

What you can do
Set up an environment that emphasizes healthy choices. As much as possible, have a set schedule for naps and bedtime, so your child gets adequate rest. Creating routines such as reading to children can help children transition to bedtime. Encourage your child to be active: although children’s physical abilities vary at this age, you can help your child develop gross motor skills by running, hopping, kicking large balls and playing in the park. Food is an integral part of family life, and snacks and mealtime can be an opportunity to teach your child the right choices.  Avoid presenting foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Instead, offer healthy snacks such as fruit, cheese and crackers, apples and peanut butter, carrots, green or red peppers, etc.

Four and five year olds

Four and five year olds have a better perspective on the world around them than their younger siblings, especially if they go to preschool or play with other children. They may be picky about what they eat, which can be a challenge. They may also be more outspoken about staying up longer, or watching TV.

What you can do
Continue to make sure your four or five year old gets enough sleep, though this age group is usually done napping. This is a perfect age to involve children in simple tasks in the kitchen, such as cutting a banana with a butter or plastic knife, or asking them to help you wash fruits and vegetables. You can create healthy snacks that are fun for kids, such as a peanut butter sandwich with fruit on top in the shape of a face.  Provide healthy snacks such as cut up carrots, peppers, apples, etc. to children before they get too hungry. Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. At this age, some children begin playing developmental team sports; even dancing at home together to a CD is valuable. Children enjoy self-help routines at this age, and can be taught how to brush their teeth properly, wash their hands, etc. Talk to your children about healthy choices: when they eat better, sleep enough and get good exercise, they feel better.

Six and seven year olds

Six and seven years are in school, and have firm ideas about their likes and dislikes. They are receptive to ideas about healthy choices, although peer pressure may begin to influence them.

What you can do
With supervision, six and seven year olds can take responsibility for self-hygiene, such as washing their hands, brushing their teeth, etc. They can also be active participants in food preparation, again with supervision.  They are physically more capable. This is a good age to teach them to throw and catch smaller balls, ride bikes, jump rope and engage in other physical activities that require hand to eye coordination. Continue to provide an environment where your child gets adequate rest. Children at this age may be more vocal about eating sweets and snacks; encourage them to eat these in moderation.  Limit TV and video games, as well as computer time.

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