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Staying Healthy and Active on Child Health Day

By Whitney Frisch, Director, YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital
October 2, 2017
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On Monday, October 2, Child Health Day is nationally recognized as a day to raise awareness about ways to help all children stay healthy and safe so they are ready to play and learn, both at home and at school. Here are some key ways parents and early childhood educators can work together to create healthier learning environments for all children.

Boost Your Child’s Immunity

Experts agree that providing children with a healthy diet, daily physical activity and quality sleep are key components in building young children’s immune systems.

Try one of these healthy activities as a family:

  • Cook a healthy meal or snack together
  • Meet up with friends for a play date at a local park
  • Go for walk around your neighborhood
  • Visit one of the Farmers Markets in Minneapolis
  • Check out miles of bike trails around the city

Here are a few photos of the children in our YWCA Children’s Centers in action as they participate in healthy, active play time:

Schedule an Annual Physical Exam

Parents should be sure to schedule a doctor’s appointment for their child to have an annual physical. These help prevent children from getting sick and check that your child has the proper immunizations. It is also a good time to make appointments for annual visits with the dentist and eye doctor. YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center requires this physical exam and a Health Care summary.

Keep Immunizations Up to Date

Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect their children from potentially harmful diseases. In a group setting such as child care, diseases can still spread rapidly among children who haven’t received the proper shots. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly – especially in infants and young children.

Which Vaccines are Needed? At Which Age?

Be a Germ Buster

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of infection. At YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center, we teach our children the importance of handwashing at all age levels, including our infants.

Happy Birthday Handwashing Song

We teach children at our YWCA centers to wash their hands with soap and water multiple times each day. Some examples include before eating, after sneezing or coughing and after playing outside with shared toys. A fun way for adults to reinforce good handwashing is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times with a child while they scrub between fingers, thumbs, palms and wrists. It is important to implement the practice of hand washing as soon as children arrive at school and when they come home from any group care settings.

Take Time to Get Well

As parents and teachers, it is difficult to see our children not feeling their best. Inevitably they are going to have days where they feel under the weather. When your child becomes ill at the center, we will contact you to arrange for a pick up within 1 hour. Child care licensing rules require that we must exclude all children who are ill. Children who are sick should stay home as this is a critical factor in preventing the spread of illness at child care centers and helps ensure your child takes the time needed to get well.

Local Health Department Information

If you need more information about health care coverage for children, you can contact your local health department.