On seeing my house for the first time, my Mother’s first reaction was that she was glad it had a circle. The circle; a the loop made by walking from the living room down the 1st floor hallway, through the kitchen and dining room and back to the living room; was very important if we wanted to raise our children in this home. I admit it was one attribute missing from my must-have list. A garage, a big yard, a nice kitchen, storage space and updated bathrooms were all on the list, but a circle was no where to be found.
She was right – of course. I think of her reaction every night around 6:30 when dinner is done and the three kids are running loops around the downstairs. 3 years ago it was just Little Guy making loops in his little police car. Now it’s a 3-child hybrid game of tag and peek-a-boo. That circle helps fill my house with happy shrieks and laughter on a regular basis.
That circle also helps my kids get their 60 minutes of playtime everyday. In summer it’s so easy to take the kids outside and let them run around. Little Guy and I have spent hours just making up different ways to run around the backyard. But in winter it’s a little harder to find things to do that get their blood pumping.
Yesterday I had the privilege of taking part in a phone call with Sam Kass, the Executive Director of Let’s Move, Michelle Obama’s campaign to combat childhood obesity. What I find so striking about this program is how successful it has become. Since it’s inception four years ago, 90% of schools in the country have met the standards to get new funding for fruits and vegetables in the schools. Nearly nine-million children will now be able to get breakfast and lunch on a regular basis. Many of these children are coming to school hungry and these meals can help them score better on tests, pay attention in class and even improve behavior. Thanks to Let’s Move, schools are growing gardens, working with professional chefs to develop healthier and tastier meals, and children are moving more.
While a lot of the focus in the program is on the most at-risk children, the message is just as important for every child and adult; to be healthy you need to eat healthy foods and get daily exercise. Perhaps my favorite moment in the call was when Mr. Kass made the point that children need to get 60 minutes of playtime, not strict exercise. I had never made the distinction before. It’s needs to be fun for them. They need to laugh or they will not grow up wanting to keep doing it!
The call inspired me to recommit myself to making sure my family is eating the right things and getting enough playtime. If you want to find out more about Let’s Move check out their website at Letsmove.gov. If you want a few ideas on feeding your family healthier, more balanced meals you can check out the Let’s Move site, or lookup a few of these articles from Cooking Light.