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We all want our children and teens to enjoy learning, achieve good grades and have academic success. Nutrition, physical activity and mental well-being are all linked to academic achievement, so making sure your children are healthy and active will fuel them to reach their academic goals.
A healthy lifestyle can help improve a child’s:
- Attention span
- Thinking ability
Listed below are some tips for making healthy eating, physical activity and mental well-being part of your child’s daily life. For more nutrition, physical activity and mental health help, call 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat with Military OneSource to arrange a specialty consultation for health and wellness coaching.
According to studies from the Journal of School Health, hungry children tend to have shorter attention spans and have difficulty with problem-solving, math skills and memory recall. Children need a nutritious breakfast of whole grains, fiber and protein. They also need snacks throughout the day that are high in protein and low in sugar to boost their ability to listen, process and remember what they are learning.
Visit these websites to get tips about healthy food choices:
- MyPlate.gov has healthy eating tips, recipes and printable posters, placemats and activity sheets to use at home.
- Defense Commissary Agency offers recipes, cooking tips and articles on healthy eating and exercise for you and your family.
- Unlock the Savings and Nutrition Inside Your Commissary includes tips on making healthy choices and raising a healthy eater.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity can include school recess periods, hiking, dancing, playing sports or walking to and from school.
Check out the following resources for ideas about how to keep your children physically active:
- Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities are available on your local installation.
- Installation youth centers offer a safe environment for youth to explore interests, build skills and experience success. Installation youth centers offer a number of programs for youth and teens, including informal and formal sports and fitness programs, open recreation, youth sponsorship and special-interest instructional classes including dance, martial arts, music and more.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s MISSION: Youth Outreach provides a free membership to local Boys & Girls Clubs for military youth ages 6 to 18 who do not live near or have access to a military youth center. Boys & Girls Clubs offers a wide variety of recreational and educational programs.
- 4-H Military Partnership provides military youth the opportunity to join 4-H clubs in their communities and participate in summer camps around the country. 4-H offers a wealth of resources in STEM subjects, healthy living, citizenship, public speaking and other military core program areas providing valuable life skills, curriculum and resources for military youth and teens across the country and around the world. Add to your child’s summer lineup by exploring the 4-H Military Teen Adventure Camps, offered coast to coast for teens age 13-18. Visit the 4-H Military Partnership website to learn more.
- Explore healthy living articles available through Military OneSource, including Fun and Fitness — The Essentials, Make Active Living a Priority To Improve Family Fitness and About Morale, Welfare and Recreation: Supporting the Military Community.
Boost your child’s social and academic success by making healthy eating and physical activity part of your family’s daily life.
Your youth’s mental health is also essential to maintaining energy and engagement in their physical and academic activities. Help your child remain rested and mentally healthy by keeping an eye on these factors:
- Establishing and maintaining routines can help set up your child for success. Keep regular meal and homework times, and be sure to set aside time for physical activity each day.
- Look for signs of mental health challenges or issues that might be troubling your child. Child and youth behavioral counselors are available at many child development centers, youth centers and even some schools. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to ask about the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. OCONUS? View international calling options or schedule a live chat. If you have an immediate concern about the safety of your child, call the Military Crisis Line at 988, and press 1, chat online or send a text message to 838255.
- MilKids Connect offers a health and wellness section for youth to take control of their own wellness goals. And your child has the added benefit of being able to connect with other military children facing the same challenges.
- Health and wellness coaching is also available for teens. This free service is available to teens age 13 and up by phone and video. Consultants offer guidance and resources to assist with weight management, fitness, nutrition, stress management and more. Sign your teenager up for health and wellness coaching sessions today. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat.
Connecting to comprehensive information on nutrition, physical activity and mental health will help enable you and your family to be mission ready. Military OneSource is your 24/7 connection to information, parenting tips and support — your one source for your best MilLife. If you have additional questions about health and well-being for your family, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat.