Practitioners can work on promoting and maintain a healthy lifestyle and environment by:
- Allowing children to have a balanced diet, this can be done by encouraging children to eat their five-a-day. By reading books and poems that they can join into, this will help children to remember the importance of having a balanced diet.
By having fruit and vegetables provided for the children in school, helps them to eat at least on piece a day. The School Fruit & Vegetable scheme is a programme that helps to increase fruit & vegetable intake. This is important as each child deserves a healthy start in life as it may influence their health in the future.
The School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme states:
“By providing four to six year old children with an extra portion of fruit or vegetable each school day, along with a positive and enjoyable experience of eating fruit and vegetables, the scheme encourages children to develop positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetables.” (www.dh.gov.uk)
- If a child is allowed regular exercise it allows motivation of brain activity, aids the digestive system, develops bone density and maintains it and strengths the muscles. Physical activities such as practical training, P.E., climbing frames and riding bikes help children to develop social skills as they are playing with each other.
The British Heart Foundation proposes “That children and young people need at least one hour of moderate activity a day.” This does not have to be done at one time, but can be at different times during the day. As young children are still developing practitioners should allow them to have a stop-start approach to exercise, when children are feeling tired they should be allowed to sit down and rest for the amount of time they want before getting up and playing again.
Practitioners should encourage children to do exercise outside of the setting as well as inside. They could do this by joining Walk to School 2008, when the practitioners talk about this with the children they are able to learn about the benefits of walking, road safety, awareness and the environment around them. 50% of children do not walk to school regularly and more are being driven to and from school, by being driven children are reducing their physical activity.
- Risk assessments identify and minimise risks, they are not created to make an environment risk free. Practitioners should encourage children to take risks, as long as they are managed and strongly supervised. By doing so they are promoting a healthy environment as all settings have risks, as long as these risks don’t stop children from doing anything they could help to create an enabling environment.
Danks and Schofield state:
“Life if full of risk, so the best way to prepare children for life is to ensure that they [learn] how to judge risk for themselves.”
(Source: Danks, F. & Schofield, J (2005) Nature’s Playground)
There are many different types of legislations which helps to maintain that a child has a right to life, development, to be healthy and also the right for children to have an education.
Factors such as housing, poverty, breast feeding and the child’s lifestyle may affect their health and well being at differing times in their lives.
- Housing affects the health of a child as it can cause a lot of diseases if the house is poorly maintained or designed the most remarkably is asthma. If a house is overcrowded it may be dangerous to a child's health as diseases may be transmitted between each family member. Poverty is linked with poor housing as if a family was to live on a low income it would be harder for them to heat the house as it would be expensive. In addition to this home insurance would be expensive for families in poor housing as these areas would be more likely to be hit by crime. As families are living on a lower income the furniture may be unsafe as they haven’t got the money to fix or buy another one.
Poor housing effects children’s social skills as the parents may feel that they don’t want the child’s friends around as they are ashamed of the way they are living. As a result to this the children may feel left out of discussions that are happening in their setting. Children may also feel they are losing out as they do not have the space at home to do any extra activities, such as homework.
- Diet and exercise is important to a child as it plays a main part in their development. Breast feeding a baby gives them the best nutritional start in life, over the months, the milk’s composition changes to meet the nutritional needs of the baby as it growing and developing. By breast feeding it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, is associated with better cognitive development and the milk contains antibodies which means the baby is less likely to get a disease in their earliest months of life. They are less likely to develop food allergies, respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses and are less likely to become obese adults.
When breastfeeding the mother and baby are able to build a bond between them, furthermore as there is no sterilising it is more hygienic. As breast milk needs no preparation it is always ready, always at the right temperature and free. Mothers who have a lower income are more likely to breast feed immediately after birth, then bottle feed.
- Families and their communities have an effect on children, as some families like to spend there spare time playing sports and others looking after animals. As more children are staying indoors to play with friends on game consoles, computers and watching television they are not allowing themselves to physical activity outdoors. In addition to this if children were to play indoors, they do not have enough space to run around, as children are always reminded not to run inside and to slow down. So unless activities are carefully organised it can be hard for a larger scale activity to happen, which is why fine motor skills activities are usually promoted indoors.