Studies show that it is important to start health and wellness habits as early as possible, as children are developing taste preferences, learning to walk and play, and beginning to adopt both healthy and unhealthy patterns. Even if children are not overweight or obese as preschoolers, their early childhood experiences can impact their risk for obesity later in life. Because children can spend much of their day in childcare, childcare providers play a crucial role in growing these health and wellness habits in order to improve children’s lifestyle choices for the rest of their lives.
How can my childcare center participate in HLI?
- Sign Up as a partner
- Fill out your MAPPS for Change, action plan!
- HLI staff can support you in filling out your MAPPS, connecting you with existing resources in your area or providing materials or technical assistance based on the ideas you develop in your action plan!
How have other childcare providers incorporate HLI?
There are many ways you could incorporate the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative approaches into your center! Here are some examples from our partners:
- Included the 12345 Fit-tastic information and message in newsletters to parents
- Placed 12345 Fit-tastic stickers near water fountains and on water cups to promote 4 servings of water
- Included fruits and vegetables in play food/play kitchen and encouraged children to talk about “colorful” healthy plates at meal time.
- Served healthy food at family events. (Served fruit and low-fat yogurt parfaits at parent event and even had children help prepare the snack!)
- Incorporated Fit-tatic! healthy weight assessment questions into existing family questionnaire
And many more! We also know that children learn from their adult caregivers, so you may want to focus on staff wellness and modeling through activities for staff such walking groups or encouraging staff to participate in physical activity every day with the children. Your customized MAPPS for Change will help focus on the activities, messages or policies that will best fit within your center!