Resources for Parents
Use our resources at home or to talk with your child care providers about their programs. Help your family eat more healthy, get your kids moving, limit screen time and get breastfeeding support.
- Build Healthy Habits
Healthy Minds: Nurturing Your Child’s Healthy Development: These articles from the nonprofit organization Zero to Three provide examples and encouragement for parents and caregivers to understand and nurture child development from birth to 36 months.
KidsHealth Nutrition and Fitness: KidsHealth from Nemours is the top visited website for children’s health and development. How do you feed a picky eater or encourage a child who loves video games to play outside? Learn how to keep your child healthy with the right foods and physical activity.
- Nurture Healthy Eaters
Cooking Matters: This website is full of resources and recipes to help families cook nutritious meals on a budget and build healthy eating habits.
Cooking With Preschoolers: It may take a little flexibility and prep work, but time in the kitchen with preschoolers can be educational, boost kids’ confidence and promote healthy eating.
Division of Responsibility in Feeding: Children eat as much as they need, they grow in the way that is right for them, and they learn to eat the food their parents eat. Parents can let children learn and grow with eating when they follow these guidelines from the Ellyn Satter Institute.
Eat Right When Money’s Tight: This resource from the USDA provides tips on how to stretch your food dollars by planning ahead, budgeting, making smart food choices, and preparing low-cost recipes.
Family Checklist for Nutrition in Early Care Education (PDF): This checklist of healthy eating best practices is a great reference as you visit child care and early education programs. Ask about steps they are taking towards childhood obesity prevention. Also available in Spanish
Farm to School Bookshelf: Find books for teaching preschoolers about gardening, cooking, farms and food.
First Aid — Choking: Choking can be a life-threatening emergency. Follow these steps if your child is choking.
Food Allergies: Food allergies can cause serious reactions. Find out how to keep your kids safe and what to do in an emergency.
Healthy Food Shopping: What you put in the grocery cart can affect your child’s health and attitude toward nutritious food. Learn how to follow a healthy path in the store and teach your kids to do the same.
How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label (video): These labels, usually found on the back of food packages, can be hard to understand. Here’s how to read them, and teach your kids how to read them too.
Lead Poisoning and Nutrition: Resources from the USDA and CDC provide facts on nutrition and lead exposure, how you can fight lead poisoning with a healthy diet, and five things you can do to help lower your child’s lead level (also available in Spanish).
Mealtime Makeovers: Meals that have kid appeal can deliver the vitamins and minerals that growing bodies need. Here are some simple tips for trimming the fats from kids’ favorite foods.
MyPlate Videos: These videos combine nutritional information with inspirational stories from American families, as part of the overall effort to help people find healthy eating solutions and develop a personalized healthy eating style that fits within their overall lifestyle.
Nutrition Guide for Toddlers: This article reviews the variety of food a toddler should receive, how much food they need, and the need for milk and iron at this stage in life.
Picky Eaters: Picky eating is a typical behavior for many preschoolers. Learn how to get your child to try new foods, what to say to your child about her eating behaviors and more.
Snacks for Preschoolers: Healthy and well-timed snacks can help fill in nutritional gaps for preschoolers. Turn your kids into smart snackers by getting creative with healthy foods.
Snacks for Toddlers: Some toddlers may seem too busy exploring to slow down and eat. Others may be fickle about food. That’s where healthy, well-timed snacks come in.
Strategies for Feeding a Preschooler: The preschool years are a great time to teach children about healthy food choices in new and exciting ways.
Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series from MyPlate: Easy-to-follow tip sheets in convenient, printable PDF formats–perfect to post on the refrigerator. Topics include: Kid-Friendly Veggies and Fruits, Snack Tips for Parents, Eating Better on a Budget, Cut Back on Your Kid’s Sweet Treats, Be a Healthy Role Model and many more.
Toddlers at the Table — Avoiding Power Struggles: By anticipating problems and offering choices, you can teach toddlers healthy eating habits and avoid power struggles about food.
- Serve Healthy Beverages
Calcium and Your Child: Calcium is needed to build strong bones. But more than 60% of children don’t get enough of this nutrient. Read more about the benefits and sources of calcium.
Fruit Juice and Your Child’s Diet: Review the American Academy of Pediatrics’ daily juice recommendations for different age levels, and get additional information and resources about healthy drink habits.
Potter the Otter (e-book in English and Spanish): Read this book with engaging pictures out loud to your children about an otter who loves water.
Water and Juice Tip Sheet (PDF): This healthy drink tip sheet includes guidelines for serving water and juice, how to encourage children to make healthy beverage choices, and more.
What Should Preschoolers Drink?: The best drinks for preschoolers — and for kids of all ages — are milk and water. Read more about how to quench preschoolers’ thirst in healthy ways.
- Get Kids Moving
Establishing Tummy Time Routines: Learn how to make tummy time part of your family’s daily routine, increase your baby’s ability to reach, and more, with these tips.
Family Checklist for Physical Activity in Early Care Education : This checklist of physical activity best practices is a great resource to have as you visit child care programs. Also available in Spanish.
Five Moves for Baby’s First Workout: You can start tummy time as soon as your baby is born with these moves to build strength and early motor skills as well as bond with your baby.
Get Moving Today Activity Calendar: A start anytime, reusable calendar that contains fun physical activities to do every day with your preschooler.
Head Start Body Start: These SHAPE America materials provide age-appropriate activities to show the importance of physical activity for young children. They offer a variety of ideas, strategies and information to use the space, material and time that providers or parents have to model and encourage physical activities. They are offered in English and Spanish.
Healthy Tips for Active Play: This helpful resource explains the benefits of active play, how to tell if your child is getting enough active play, and ideas for active play indoors and out.
National Park Service: Find a park near you and start planning your next outdoor adventure.
National Wildlife Federation Family Fun: Discover fun outdoor, nature and animal-related activities to do with your child. Search activities by type, child age, season or favorite animal.
Tummy Time Tools: This informative resource talks about the benefits of tummy time; how to carry your baby securely; tips for bathing, diapering and dressing baby; much more.
- Limit Screen Time
Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games and Internet: Too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects. This article contains tips for parents on how to limit screen time and also covers Internet safety.
How TV Affects Children: Learn about appropriate TV programming for young children as well as how commercials affect children, about TV ratings and how to teach good TV habits.
Tip Sheet: Setting Limits for Screen Time (PDF): At-a-glance tip sheet for parents on how to limit screen time and spend more quality time as a family.
- Breastfeeding Support and Infant Care
Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play: This article emphasizes that while tummy time is important, babies are safest on their backs while sleeping. Learn more about how to enjoy tummy time with your infant.
A Guide to Pumping Milk: This guide from La Leche League describes different types of pumps, and how to make pumping as comfortable, effective and stress-free as possible.
Project Breastfeeding: A dynamic, engaging and thought-provoking website for mothers and fathers which aims to de-stigmatize public breastfeeding, educate men and empower women.
- Resources for Tribal Families and Communities
My Native Plate and My Native Plate for Your Family (PDF): Helping your family eat healthy is easy with these print-outs reminding you about portion sizes and to include fruits, vegetables, grains and protein with every meal.
Physical Activity Kit for Young Children (PAK) — Staying on the Active Path in Native Communities
(PDF): This vast resource for child care providers and parents contains culturally appropriate physical activities and movements for infants, toddlers and preschool children.
MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future.
Screen Free Week
Screen-Free Week is an annual, international celebration when schools, families and community groups pledge to spend seven days without digital entertainment. Spend quality time together, without TV or computer games.