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Make a "Happy and Healthy" Flag

For Parents

This activity is appropriate for kids ages 4 to 7. Your child will probably enjoy this activity more if you help her. Come up with ideas for pictures together. Talk about why these activities and foods are healthy and how they help your body. Reinforce that being healthy is fun and makes you feel good. If your child likes to draw, you might want to make one flag each for moving, eating, and resting.

Older children may enjoy doing this activity by cutting out pictures from magazines, catalogs, newspaper ads -- or even taking digital photos and printing them with your help -- then gluing or pasting the pictures to their flag or flags. To make a larger flag, you can use a full sheet of paper and attach it to a paint stirrer stick.

What to Teach Your Child: Being Happy and Being Healthy Go Together

This activity will help your child make a positive association between healthy behaviors and feeling happy. Help him to see how being happy and healthy go together.

On the one hand, his pictures are examples of ways that being healthy make him happy. On the other hand, his emotional state can also influence his well-being. When he is unhappy, he is probably more inclined to do unhealthy things. When he is sad, he may not want to play and might want to eat candy or treats to feel better. When he is mad, he may find it hard to sleep. But when he is happy, he is more likely to play actively, to eat nutritious food, and to be able to rest.

Teach your child that what she eats, how much she moves her body, and how well she rests all affect her health. Help her understand that all the healthy choices she makes add up. Healthy choices will help her grow up strong and happy.

Also talk to your child about why her flag is different from yours or a sibling. Explain that no one else will have a flag like hers because everyone likes different things. Many things can make people happy and healthy, and you don't have to like them all. It's OK for you to like something that someone else doesn't. And it's OK for someone to like things that you don't. Making a flag about what makes her happy and healthy can help build your child's confidence and self-esteem -- as well as her enthusiasm for making healthy choices.

What's the FIT Connection?

Developing your child's positive self-esteem is part of raising FIT kids because your self-image affects all aspects of your life.

Kids who have confidence and feel good about themselves are more likely to respond in healthy ways to uncomfortable feelings. For instance, they may respond to stress by practicing a relaxation technique like deep breathing or visualization instead of throwing a tantrum. Or they may ease anxiety with physical activity rather than cookies or chips. Managing emotions is a key skill for living a fit life.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on April 08, 2012

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