The themes below can help you identify important issues for the health and wellness of your child from infancy through adulthood.
1. Promoting Family Support: Raising healthy children and a healthy family is important, hard work. Everyone needs information and support. Think about what you need to do the best job and who your supporters are—family, friends, health providers. Think also about what you can offer others.
2. Promoting Child Development: Children grow and develop in so many ways and change quickly from babies to toddlers to teens. As parents, we provide love and support. And, just as our children change, our role as parents changes too. We must learn when to help, when to set limits, and when to stand back as they take steps toward adulthood. Every child is different and develops at his own rate.
3. Promoting Mental Health: Health includes both physical and mental well-being. Families, friends, health providers, teachers, coaches, and others can contribute to a child’s self-worth, self-confidence, and sense of joy. Learn about children’s emotional and social development so you will know what to expect, when to be concerned, and where to find resources.
4. Promoting Healthy Weight: Healthy foods, eating habits, and being active are important for maintaining healthy weight and lifelong health. Children learn from role models. When they see parents and others eating healthy food and being physically active, they are more likely to do the same. Weight is a challenge today for many but more resources and support are available.
5. Promoting Healthy Nutrition (Healthy Food & Eating): Nutrition contributes the main part of children’s growth, lifelong health, and well-being. Your family’s culture and access to healthy foods help shape your children’s eating habits. You can help them learn when and what to eat and how to prepare foods to keep healthy. Sharing meals with others are also important social occasions.
6. Promoting Physical Activity: Get Moving! That’s today’s message for everybody—infants through adults. Being physically active helps children and families build healthy habits that support a lifetime of health and well-being. Sports, games, and other activities are a great way for children and adults to develop new skills and have fun. In addition, physical activity combined with good nutrition helps promote a healthy weight.
7. Promoting Oral Health: A key part of child’s overall health, oral health is more than teeth. It includes gums, lips, mouth, and face. It also includes chewing and swallowing, because these motions impact a child’s nutrition and well-being. Oral health may also affect children’s self-confidence—how they feel about their overall appearance. A dental home is important for all children.
8. Promoting Healthy Sexual Development and Sexuality: Healthy sexual development and sexuality includes developing a healthy body image, building healthy relationships, and learning about the body. It also includes learning appropriate ways to show affection; the difference between love and sex; and learning to make responsible decisions about being sexually active. Children and youth make better decisions when they have trusted adults to talk to, and strong connections with their families.
9. Promoting Safety and Injury Prevention: Children need safe environments to grow and thrive. Parents oversee safety for babies and young children. As children grow, friends, childcare providers, teachers, coaches, and others also help keep children safe. And older children and teens begin to learn to take charge of their own safety. It can be hard for parents to know when to let go. Try to be one step ahead of where your child is developmentally—know what your child can do and what is reasonable to expect.
10. Promoting Community Relationships and Resources: A community can contribute in many ways to the health and well-being of children and families. Communities include, but are more than, people—health and social services, schools, local government. Many programs, services, and resources affect the quality of life and many people can help to make yours a caring community.