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
5 Ways to Boost Your Kid’s Gut Health: By the time kids reach school age, the general makeup of their microbiome has been established and will remain with them for years. This resource provides simple guidelines on ways you can boost your kid’s gut health.
6 Simple Steps for the Whole Family to be Heart-Healthy: This resource by the American Heart Association, demonstrates ways to make more time for the whole family to be more heart healthy.
All About Sleep: This resource is for parents who want to discover the appropriate quality and quantity of sleep kids should get.
Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children: This resource explains the American Heart Association dietary recommendations for infants, children and adolescents in order to promote cardiovascular health.
Healthy Habits for Children and Families: This resource provides an infographic on childhood obesity and tip sheets on how to teach your children 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.
How Can Families Be Healthier: This resource describes ways to get the whole family involved with healthy eating habits and activities.
Is Childhood Obesity an Issue in Your Home? This resource will help you and your kids avoid our nation’s unhealthy trend of obesity.
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.
Top 10 Tips to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits: This resource provides ten tips on ways you can help your child develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits.
- Nurture Healthy Eaters
9 Must-Eat Nutrients for Your Child: This resource provides information on the nine nutrients that every child should be getting on a daily basis.
15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better: This resource provides first hand lessons learned from a mother to help you guide your kids to eat better.
Baby Food — How to Make Your Own (video): Interested in making your own baby food? It’s easier than you think. This resource illustrates how you can make your own homemade baby food that adds nutritional benefits for your child.
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.
Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy Food: PBS Parents provides a resource that would make good food choices more attractive for your kids.
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: Those tempting displays of tasty snacks and fruity drinks can make it easy to end up with a cart overloaded with stuff that doesn’t offer much nutritional punch. These tips can help you keep the focus on healthy options.
Healthy Foods Under $1 Per Serving: Eating healthy on a budget can seem difficult; but it can be done. This resource provide some of healthy foods under $1 that you can incorporate into your weekly menu planning.
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.
How to Tame Your Kid’s Sweet Tooth in 30 Days: The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recently recommended that kids and adults limit added sugar to 10 percent or fewer of daily calories. This resource provides a plan to help everyone get close to that 10 percent level in just a month.
Keeping Portions Under Control: It is not only important for the quality of our food to by nutritious but also the quantity. This resource is helpful to understand the difference between serving sizes and recommended amounts of different foods.
Kids and Food — 10 Tips for Parents: Following these basic ten guidelines can help you encourage your kids to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.
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.
Nifty Benefits–Guide to Child Nutrition: This resource highlights the importance of encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age. Understanding what the nutritional guidelines are for children can help families as they work to make better food choices and teach healthy habits.
Nourish Interactive is dedicated to educating children about the importance of good nutrition. Nourish Interactive characters such as Chef Solus are excited to share recipes, games and activities with kids. Children can also enjoy printables — puzzles, worksheets and learning sheets — which promote healthy living.
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.
Top 5 Tips to Deal with Picky Eaters (Both Kids & Adults): This resource provides tips that will help nourish your family with healthful foods and help return some harmony to mealtime.
- Serve Healthy Beverages
7 Best and Worst Drinks to Keep Kids Hydrated: What should kids drink? This resource provides suggestions as well as other common beverages children should avoid.
10 Tips to Make Better Beverage Choices: What you drink is as important as what you eat. This resource provides tips to help you make better beverage choices.
12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Kids: Smoothies are a delicious way for kids to get enough nutrients into their body each day! This resource provides 12 smoothie recipe you can try with your kids.
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.
Creative and Healthy Drinks for Kids: Milk and water are the healthiest drinks for kids. Nutritionists provide ways to help your child get enough of both.
Delicious Drinks — Caffeine-Free Recipes: This resource provides caffeine-free recipes that you and your family will enjoy.
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.
Healthy Drinks for Kids: We know it’s difficult to get your kids on board with healthy drinks. That’s why this resource provides information on drink guidelines for your kids.
Juice or Fruit Drinks? Juice is a way to enjoy fruit. Keeping 100% juice on hand is good for your whole family! This resource explains the benefits of juice and how much is too much.
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.
What’s That You’re Drinking? This resource is an activity parents can complete with their kids. Post this chart on the refrigerator as a reminder and to encourage your whole family to switch to healthy drinks with you.
- Get Kids Moving
4 Exercises to Help Baby Get Stronger: Whether your baby is batting at an object, kicking her legs, or squirming during a diaper change, they are exercising their little muscles. This resource provides easy exercises that will help you become your baby’s own personal trainer.
5 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.
11 Activities for Babies (0 to 6 Months): This resource provides simple, development-promoting activities for babies birth to 6 months suggested by three leading child development experts.
11 Activities for Babies (6 to 12 months): This resource provides simple, development-promoting activities for babies ages 6 to 12 months suggested by three leading child development experts.
11 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active: Only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day. Parents can play a key role in helping their child become more physically active. This resource provides 11 ways on how to get started.
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.
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.
How much physical activity do children need? Is your child or adolescent completing all three types of physical activity? This resource will encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety.
How to Keep Toddlers Active: Toddlers don’t like to sit still. This resource provides tips for keeping toddlers active.
Kids and Exercise: Explore the different ways kids can play and be physically active. This resource provides the benefits of exercise and the activity guidelines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Making Physical Activity a Part of a Child’s Life: As a parent, you can help shape your child’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity, and knowing these guidelines is a great place to start.
Motivate Kids to be Active: Healthy, physically active kids are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. Explore age-appropriate activities that your kids will enjoy.
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.
Toddlers — Learning By Playing: Take advantage of your toddler’s natural desire to keep moving. This resource provides a guide to the physical skills toddlers are working by age.
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
Creating a Family Media Plan: By creating a personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be more actively aware of your media use and how much time you need to achieve your goals each day. This tool from the American Academy of Pediatrics will help you to think about media usage and create goals and rules that are in line with your family’s values.
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 Media Use Affects Your Child: Technology can be part of a healthy childhood, as long as this privilege isn’t abused. This resource explains how media affects your child and recommended guidelines for screen time.
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.
Limit Screen Time: This resource explains the importance of limiting or eliminating screen time and provides fun activities your kids can do instead.
Limit Screen Time and Get Your Kids (and the Whole Family) Moving: Experts recommend that kids get no more than 1-2 hours of TV/computer/video games a day. This resource provides ideas about how to limit your family’s sedentary time.
Reducing Kids’ TV, Computer, and Cell Phone Time — Without a Fight: This resource provides stress-free strategies for reducing screen time with your kids.
Screen Time and Children — How to Guide Your Child: Screens are everywhere. As a result, controlling a child’s screen time has become much harder for parents. This resource provides tips on guiding your child’s use of screens and media.
Screen Time Guidelines for Babies and Toddlers: Most of a baby’s brain development happens in the first two years of life. This resource explains how much is too much for babies and toddlers.
Screen Time Guidelines for Preschoolers: Preschoolers learn by interacting with the world around them. the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting the amount of time that preschoolers spend in front of a screen. This resource explains how much is too much for preschoolers.
Screen Time Guidelines for Big Kids: By the time kids reach grade school, most are very familiar with things like TVs, tablets and smartphones. This resource explains how much is too much for kids and pre-teens.
Screen Time Guidelines for Teens: As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities like being physically active, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family. This resource explains how much is too much for teens.
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.
We Can! Screen Time Chart: Fill out this chart to see how much time your family spends in front of a screen weekly.
- 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.
The Best Breastfeeding Positions for Mom and Baby: Learn how to breastfeed by trying four popular breastfeeding positions (cradle, cross-cradle, side-lying, and football) to find the best one for you and baby.
Breastfeeding FAQs — Getting Started: Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned parenting pro, breastfeeding often comes with its fair share of questions. This resource provides answers to common queries that mothers may have.
Breastfeeding FAQs — Pain and Discomfort: Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned parenting pro, breastfeeding often comes with its fair share of questions. This resource provides answers to common queries that mothers may have.
Breastfeeding Tips — What New Moms Need to Know: Breastfeeding can be challenging. This resource provides breastfeeding tips to get off to a good start.
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed their baby is one of the biggest decisions expectant and new parents will make. This resource explains the benefits and challenges with both.
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.
Moms/ Moms-to-Be Health and Nutrition Information: When you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you have special nutritional needs. This site is designed to give you the tools you and your baby need to stay healthy.
Nursing Positions: It’s important to find a comfortable nursing position (or hold) for both you and your baby. This resources provides some common positions to consider.
Your Age-by-Age Guide to Weaning: This resource rounded up lactation consultants, developmental experts, and real moms to help you get both mind and body ready for weaning.
- 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.
- Sleep Strategies
4 Month Sleep Regression (PDF): As baby’s sleep becomes more developed and organized around the 4-month mark, some babies who were previously sleeping well will begin waking more and napping less. This is often a source of confusion for many parents. This article will explain why “good” sleepers sometimes turn into “poor” sleepers around 3-5 months old.
8, 9, 10 Month Sleep Regression (PDF): It is very common for 8-10 month old babies to have sleep problems. Maybe the sleep problems are new after baby was sleeping through the night or maybe baby never quite recovered from the 4-month sleep regression. You can also refer parents to this article: 8, 9, 10 Month Sleep Regression.
7 Tips For Making Daycare Nap Schedules Work For Your Child (PDF): This is a great resource for families whose children are struggling to nap well at daycare, and who are becoming overly tired and cranky as a result. It provides parents with seven tried and true ways to help children get extra sleep in the evening and on weekends, thereby eliminating chronic exhaustion.
10 Tips for Safe Baby Sleep (PDF): Knowing where to turn for safe sleep information is challenging. Safety recommendations to prevent SIDS (crib death) have changed over time. This list provides ten tips for safe sleep, compiled from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
20 Baby Sleep Myths (PDF): There are many myths or areas where parent intuition is not always true. This handout will help put those myths to bed.
Baby and Toddler Bedtime By Age Chart (PDF): This chart helps parents select age-appropriate bedtimes as their children grow.
Guide for Parents of 0-6 Month Old Babies (PDF): This handout provides a great overview of how sleep changes in the first 6 months of a baby’s life. It also provides two sample daytime schedules parents can use for reference.
A Guide to Getting Started with The Baby Sleep Site®: The Baby Sleep Site strives to offer a wide range of resources, products and services for parents and families who need additional information or help with their child’s sleep. This guide is meant to help new visitors navigate and learn about all that The Baby Sleep Site™ offers.
Naptime—How Much Sleep Do Kids Need: Bright Horizons provides basic guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation on how much hours of sleep kids need.
Preparing Your Kids for Naptime at Daycare: Sleep Help, a sleep-health education site, has put best practices together to ensure your young child has a smooth transition to daycare and provide some guidance on how to best prepare your child for daycare napping.
Safe Sleep: Child Care Aware of North Dakota has a selection of resources on safe sleep. You can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or other sleep-related accidents by following safe sleep practices.
Safe Sleep for Babies (Video): Learn the steps to ensure a safe sleep environment for your baby with host Joan Lunden, CPSC, Keeping Babies Safe and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a short version of this video available as well.
Sleep and Young Children: This issue of the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Bulletin focuses on sleep and related issues. Sleep-related problems and suggestions for dealing with them are included as well as resources for getting help.
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.