Like kids everywhere, students in the Healthy Northland region love a good party! Celebrating with teachers, staff, and each other is an important part of a school’s culture. Birthday parties, holiday celebrations and school-wide events can add up fast. That’s fun! At the same time, the frequency of celebrations and the amount of sugary treats shared at some of these events can send kids the wrong message.
For some students, the sugary treats can make it harder to concentrate and stay alert when it’s time to get back to regular class time. Other students may have food allergies, dietary requirements and medical conditions that exclude them from enjoying the treats. This makes it hard on the students, parents, and teachers.
Many schools are promoting healthy celebration habits by limiting or removing sugary treats and replacing them with fun activities and privileges. Some of this is motivated by parents and teachers who’ve observed that kids consume more sugar than ever; and some of this is motivated by new USDA rules . The new rule and requirement gives schools an opportunity to decide how they will address snacks during celebrations. This doesn’t mean schools have to eliminate all sugary treats either. It just means schools need to decide what kind of celebration environment they want to promote.
Maybe your school is doing just fine. Or maybe you’d like to consider some small changes. Talk with your local Statewide Health Improvement Partnership coordinator to get specific ideas and inspiration from schools around the state. There are many zero cost ways to have fun celebrations and keep your students healthy and ready to learn.
Here are some fun ideas to help make students feel special on their birthday and keep them healthy, too!
- Child gets to eat lunch with teacher or principal.
- Child’s parent/special adult comes in to read a favorite book to the class.
- Extra recess or play time for the entire class.
- Special show and tell with the celebrating child.
- Child allowed to bring a favorite stuffed animal from home and carry it with them.
- Child gets to wear a special crown, sash, or super hero cape on their special day.
- Consider a treasure chest filled with fun pencils, erasers, or other trinkets supplied by parents at the beginning of the year and allow kids to select something on their special day.
- Allow time for a special craft or activity brought in by the child/provided by parents.
- Allow child to create a theme for the day (everybody wears red, sports team shirt day, etc.).
- Have child create and show off an “All About Me” poster or video.
- Time to play with the fun items that don’t get used every day, like the parachute or scooters.
Do you have special and healthy ways to celebrate at your school? Share them on our facebook page!