To reach optimal physical health and mental well-being, children need to get enough sleep, make healthy food and drink choices, be more active, and limit the time they spend in front of screens.
Remember the numbers “10-5-2-1-0” and follow the tips below every day to promote your child’s physical health and mental well-being.
Keep your child’s bedtime about the same time every night and on weekends. Create a bedtime routine with your child.
Keep TVs, video games and computers out of your child’s bedroom. The light and sound from screens prevent children from sleeping.
Avoid food and drinks that have caffeine (colas, chocolate, tea, coffee).
Practise deep breathing together to help relax before bedtime.
Encourage your child to be active during the day.
Have vegetables and/or fruit with meals and snacks. Fill half the plate with vegetables and fruit.
Eat meals or snacks together as often as you can. Children are more likely to try foods when they see adults enjoying them.
Avoid giving your child snacks high in sugar, fat and salt.
Keep fruit in a bowl on the table and cut vegetables in the fridge so that they are ready to eat.
Try a new vegetable every week; ask children to help pick it out. It could take 10 or more times before children taste and accept a new food, so keep trying!
Limit the time children spend on the TV, computer (outside of school work), electronic games and other screens.
Turn off the TV when no one is watching.
Eat meals together as a family with the TV turned off; encourage everyone to talk about his/her day.
Spend free time being active as a family by going for walks, biking or visiting a nearby playground. Keep a bag of play and sports equipment to bring outside.
Have games, puzzles, crafts and books ready when children are looking for activities.
Provide the space and time for children to be active.
Have children choose some activities every day that increase their heart rate and make them out of breath some of the time. Some examples include soccer, swimming, dancing, skipping or playground games.
Practise basic movement skills like throwing, running and jumping with your child.
Plan to do something active as a family every day, inside or outside. Put on music and dance after dinner, play an active game after school, or take a walk together before or after meals.
Involve children in household chores such as carrying groceries, sweeping or vacuuming the floor.
Encourage walking or cycling to school, the store or to the park.
Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit drinks. They have a lot of calories, but contain few or no nutrients
Offer children water throughout the day. Pack a reusable water bottle for school
Encourage children to drink two cups of plain milk or unflavoured fortified soy beverage each day for calcium and vitamin D
Limit juice to no more than 1/2 cup of unsweetened 100 per cent juice once or twice a week. Choose whole fruit and vegetables more often than juice
Avoid energy drinks and sports drinks
Pamphlet in Different Languages
The 10-5-2-1-0 information is available as a pamphlet in the following languages for parents and caregivers of elementary school-age children:
Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, Farsi, French, Gujarti, Hindi, Hungarian, Ilocano, Nepali, Portuguese, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrigna, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese
To order, call 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.