Autumn often requires us to make changes in our lifestyle or routine due to weather, school activities, and upcoming holidays. Create habits to help you and your children stay healthy and safe throughout your lives.
Be active outdoors and indoors.
Make fall yard work fun. Have kids come up with different ways to pick up leaves or pine cones (such as squatting, bending, leaning, stretching, or balancing on one foot). Sing, dance, and explore. Provide kids with rakes and other tools that are kid-sized for comfort and safety. For indoor fun, play board games and computer games that encourage physical activity. Have a song-and-dance talent show. Draw, color, and explore with health in mind. Remember that children and adolescents should be active for at least 1 hour a day, and adults for at least 2½ hours a week. Apply sunscreen and insect repellent to protect you and your family from the sun, mosquitoes, and ticks, when appropriate.
Explore healthy foods.
Lead the family in a taste test of different varieties of one kind of food. Have everyone choose their favorite. For example, an apple could be prepared as apple snack wedges, applesauce, apple cider, and baked apples. You could also present similar types of vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and mustard greens. Talk about differences in their taste. Share your fall favorites, or be adventurous and try new things.
For a real adventure, let your children be the chefs of your family’s kitchen. Let them discover how delicious healthy foods can be. Try kid-friendly fruit and vegetable recipes!
Check out your teen’s job.
A job can be very rewarding for teens, because they gain hands-on experience, extra income, and new skills. However, sometimes job requirements may go beyond what a teen can handle. In 2009, 359 workers less than 24 years of age died from work-related injuries, including 27 deaths of youths less than 18 years of age. From 2003 to 2010, 843 workers ages 16 to 24 died in motor vehicle crashes at work. It is likely that approximately 160,000 youths sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year. Take an active role in your child’s employment, and know the laws. Be alert for signs of fatigue or stress as your child tries to balance the demands of work, school, home, and other activities.
Ensure toy safety.
Check to see if any of your family’s toys, as well as jewelry, clothing, appliances, furniture, and other products, have been recalled due to lead paint or other potential hazards. As you begin thinking about toys and gifts for upcoming events and holidays, make sure they are age-appropriate. For fall and winter events and holidays, take steps to keep kids safe and away from potential dangers.
Do as you say.
It’s easy to tell your family what to do. But, it’s even better to show them what to do and how to do it. Start with healthy habits. Eat healthy, be active, get check-ups, get appropriate vaccinations (including flu), be smoke-free, manage stress, wear seat belts, wash hands, and wear helmets to protect your brain. Build healthy relationships.Teach your kids how to avoid and reduce conflicts.
Get involved in school and community.
Schools play an important role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Parents, students, educators, and community members can all take action to keep children healthy and safe–in and away from school. Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. Away from school, children may face an increased risk for pedestrian and motor vehicle injuries. You can help by learning more about these risks and steps you can take.
For more information on Fall Safety Tips, check out the CDC’s Family Health Page!