Why Early Childhood?
As children age their habits solidify and become much more difficult to change. Good nutrition and plenty of physical activity are key to a young child’s growth and development. The early years of childhood – from birth to age 5 – is a critical period for the development of these healthy behaviors that can have a lifelong impact on a child’s quality of life.
5-2-1-0 and Early Childhood
Many children are in a child care setting, often for several hours each day. Because of this, the child care environment and providers play an important role in helping the children in their care develop healthy eating and physical activity habits that will last a lifetime. Listed below are 10 strategies for success to guide child care programs in creating an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity for the children in their care.
- Limit unhealthy choices for snacks and celebrations; provide healthy choices.
- Limit or eliminate sugary drinks; provide water.
- Prohibit the use of food as a reward.
- Provide opportunities to get physical activity every day.
- Limit recreational screen time.
- Participate in local, state, and national initiatives that support healthy eating and active living.
- Engage community partners to help support healthy eating and active living at your site.
- Partner with and educate families in adopting and maintaining a lifestyle that supports healthy eating and active living.
- Implement a staff wellness program that includes healthy eating and active living.
- Collaborate with Food and Nutrition Programs to offer healthy food and beverage options.