Using winter food to your preschoolers advantage

                                      

Did you know that winter is the best season to improve immunity? Amazingly, seasonal fruits and vegetables aids in providing more nourishment to the body.

Although modern day food processing techniques have made all fruits and vegetables available throughout the year, there are benefits with consuming seasonal fruits in the specific season. Seasonal fruits are grown naturally and are exposed to less chemicals/pesticides.  Therefore, are healthier.

In winter, you need to make sure his/her diet is filled with nutritious and vitamin-packed items. The best balance is one-third protein and two-thirds vegetables and fruits. Below points will help you chart a meal that will make your child stay warm and healthy during the winter.

Seasonal fruits

Seasonal changes are a fantastic time to introduce some new foods into his diet. Seasonal fruits are of high water content which stimulates appetite and it will give your baby that boost of Vitamin C he/she needs to fight off a cold. Citrus fruits, being high in vitamins such as vitamin A and C these fruits help in boosting immunity. They also prevent illnesses that are common in winter such as cold and flu.

Underground/rooted fruits and vegetables

Any vegetable that in which the edible part grows beneath the surface of the ground is usually warming Underground vegetables like carrot, potato, onions, garlic, radish, yams, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, etc, are good to keep your body warm.

Green vegetables

Dark Green leafy vegetables like spinach, mint leaves, fenugreek leaves, etc. are a good source of beta-carotene, folate and vitamin C - that help fight disease and step up your immunity.

Protein rich diet

Whole grain cereals and pulses have high energy and protein required to keep your energy levels up during winter. If you’re bringing up your child as non-vegan you can, meat is best to fill his protein requirement.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are winter super foods. They provide you all the required nutrients, vitamins and heat thus forming a good source of energy. For children, they work well to satisfy a sweet craving.

Spices, seeds and herbs

Mustard, hing, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, ajwain seeds are all warm spices that gives protection against colds and fever, stimulates digestion and helps strengthen immunity.

Choose from all forms

Into your daily meal plans, include a handful of nuts in the breakfast, use veggies in the main course and add some slices of fruits to your snack time. Most importantly, make it look appealing to your child.

Active play for preschoolers

       

By the age of two, most children have mastered walking and are ready to progress on physical and social development.  For this, they need an extensive range of active play. Active play experiences help young children develop physical literacy.

How does physical literacy cycle work? It revolves around the below 3 components.

1.Motivation to move

2.Confidence to move

3.Competence to move

“Active play” includes both structured and unstructured activities. Structured play for preschool children means providing them a rich stimulating environment (indoor/outdoor) and set them free to explore. Pre-schoolers   learn best when they do things, when they are not given any rules to play or win a game because they have not yet developed cognition of following rules.

For toddlers and pre-schoolers, structured play or sports should be conducted with the motive to drive fun filled learning. What is important here is that they gain confidence participating in sports/structured play, whether they do it right or not is secondary as they are still young to have technical sports skill. In actual, when kids have fun practicing any sports (for ex throwing a ball), it helps them learn that skill easily at an older stage.

Below are some benefits of active play:

Helps learn developmental tasks

There is a critical need to develop a disposition for outdoor physical activities in young children. Active play in large areas of grass and steeps encourages all forms of play. Pre-schoolers can climb up and roll down, hog and jump, throw out and pick up. Toddlers are can lie, crawl, run and roll.   All of this helps them to widely learn risk-taking, fine and gross motor skills.

Develops social skills

Sports give lots of opportunities to develop confidence and competencies as it encourages participation of large number of children. They are motivated to move faster than their friends, work in pairs/teams, develop leadership qualities, interact with people and perform in front of large audience.

Socio-dramatic play

A good sport/structured play must have structures/objects that can encourage children to use to expand their cognition. These structures encourage rich socio-dramatic play; as it requires children to pay attention to details and reflect on how to use it. This experience can be further enhanced by incorporating a concept to the sport.

Improves health

We all know there is something essentially healthy about playing outdoors. It enables children to enjoy the nature, take fresh air, insource Vitamin D from sunlight and expend energy.  Moreover it develops disposition for physical activity which is important to stay fit.

Harness the surplus-energy

Play allows children to release pent-up energy. They need to let off the energy collected over time and rejuvenate themselves. Engaging children in some active sports enables children to pursue academic learning with an increased level of focus.