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World Health Day - Environmental Sustainability for Kids

Posted on April 07 2022

This World Health Day, take steps to create sustainable habits such as watering plants with leftover drinking water.

 

Commemorate World Health Day this April 7 by building healthy and sustainable habits to keep you and the planet healthy. These might include eating healthily and reducing food wastage, being physically active, cleaning up the environment and saving water.

 

World Health Day - Our Planet, Our Health

 

This year’s World Health Day’s - and Earth Day - theme focuses on “Our Planet, Our Health”. It aims to create societies focused on well-being, to keep both humans and the planet healthy. Some issues include improving air quality, pollution and plastics leaching into our food chain. Furthermore, current systems produce highly processed and unhealthy foods and beverages, driving up numbers of obesity, cancer and heart disease and generating a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Healthy Eating and Reducing Food Wastage

 

Get Them Involved

The Babymoov Nutribaby+ can help your family easily prepare nutritious food.

 

Build healthy eating habits with your little ones, by eating dinner with them and cooking with them when possible. Bring them with you to the supermarket or the wet market. They can pick out fresh fruits and veggies, choose recipes or even help make a shopping list. Next, let them help you wash vegetables or pour ingredients into bowls. Littler toddlers can start with pouring water from bowl to bowl or make music with safe kitchen utensils. Aim to buy local produce where possible and reduce the amount of takeout or fast food in their diet.

 

Portion Size

Using plates with divided sections can help you offer your kids the appropriate ratios of whole grains, protein and fruits and vegetables.

 

Little ones should have a fist-sized portion of rice or pasta, and a palm-sized portion of protein. Whole grains and lean protein should occupy a quarter of their plates each, and the rest fruits and vegetables. Teach them the value of these nutrients - fruits and veggies help their bodies grow, and whole grains and protein give them plenty of energy. Regarding sweets, explain to them that these yummy treats can make them feel bad if they take too much of it. Offer them fresh fruit and small portions of treats if necessary during mealtime.

 

Motherswork Recommends: Divided plates ($6.90 to $62) from Re-Play and Béaba, or the EZPZ Happy and Mini Mats and the Feeding Set ($33.90 to $53.90).

 

Let Children Tell You When They’re Full

 

Heed your children’s hunger cues - try not to make them clean their plate if they’re already full. Offer healthy choices and let them decide how much to eat, although you may want to intervene if they don’t touch any of their food. During mealtime, limit screen time, so your kids pay greater attention to how much they’re eating. Role modelling is key, too - if you want your kids to eat their greens, you’ll have to eat them too. When eating with the family, try to make these meals fun.

 

Reduce Food Wastage

 

Food waste in Singapore accounts for up to 11 per cent of total waste. In 2020, the amount of food waste generated was 665,000 tonnes. Rope your children into reducing as much food wastage as possible. Some ideas include taking a food waste challenge as a family, where your kids can measure how much food gets wasted and how to reduce waste. Alternatively, plan ahead for a week of meals, designating one day to finish any leftovers. As mealtime approaches, try to hold back on giving your children snacks, since they’ll have less space to eat their normal portions. Another way is to slice fruits and vegetables so your children can easily feed themselves. Let your children finish their meal an hour or two later if they didn’t finish enough of their meals, otherwise save it for another day.

 

Be Physically Active

Kids should try to get about 3h of physical activity in a day, which might include riding their scooters around the park.

 

Other than ensuring that your children eat healthy foods, it’s vital for your kids to be physically active throughout the day for growth and development (and better sleep at night). Toddlers and preschoolers should be physically active for around three hours every day. In particular, preschoolers should also include 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. For toddlers, this could include standing up, hopping, running, jumping or walking. Try climbing frames, riding scooters or tricycles, water play, chasing and ball games ($4.90 to $599). This can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

 

Clean Up Our Environment

Reduce waste by using silicone reusable bags to stash fruits.

 

Together with your children, head out into your neighbourhood and pick up litter, using tongs and a trash bag. Explain to them that the trash goes to an incinerator, where they’re burned and the ash and other non-incinerable wastes are transferred to the landfill at Semakau Island. With plastic gloves, sort out the trash into recyclables and non-recyclables and dispose of them accordingly.

 

To reduce waste, look for products made of sustainable materials like silicone or bamboo, and refrain from using single use plastics where possible. Instead of Ziploc bags, try the reusable storage bags from Stasher, and Bee’s Wraps rather than plastic wrap. You can also trade in used car seats for the Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Baby Car Seat. Kids can also try upcycling materials into new creative projects with the Recycling Things to Make and Do Book. Other options include the plastic free Where are You Polar Bear and Penguin books. Prices range from $9.90 to $399.

 

Relevant Reads: Sustainable Options for Your Little One

Earth Day Worksheets for Kindergarteners and Preschoolers

 

Save Water

With a little guidance, kids can learn to save water too, by washing fruits and vegetables in a basin filled with water.

 

Even though Singapore has a sustainable and robust water supply, it’s essential to ensure that the demand for water does not rise exponentially. Currently, water demand is about 430 million gallons, and may likely double by 2060. It’s essential to lower our water consumption from 141 litres in 2018 to 130 litres per person per day by 2030.

 

Kid-Friendly Ways to Save Water

 

Ways to do this include, washing fruits and vegetables in a pan of water, or washing dishes with a basin of wash water and rinsing in another basin. Kids can also turn off the water while brushing their teeth, washing their hair or lathering soap on their hands. Have them join you on a leak hunt to listen for sounds or dripping water, running toilets, or water spots. Add a teaspoon of food colouring into the water tank, wait 15 minutes and see if the water in the bowl is coloured - if so, there’s a leak. Additionally, use the washing machine or dishwasher with a full load of clothes or dishes. Show them how to reuse water, such as watering non-edible household plants with the pet fish’s waste water, or excess water they didn’t finish. Otherwise, use leftover cooking water for steaming or boiling vegetables to make a healthy and tasty soup.

 

The whole family can also try Navy showers, where you turn on the water only to soak yourself and rinse off. This ensures the water is only running for two to three minutes, saving up to 600 litres of water per month per person. When it gets too hot or humid, fill an inflatable pool with water for the kids to cool down.

 

Kids’ Pools: Intex Sunset Glow Inflatable Pool for Baby, and Snapset Pools ($16.90 to $39.90) for kids.

Water Saving Games: WaterSense

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