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Physical and mental health for young children
Physical and mental health for young children

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2.2 Educating parents and staff of the benefits of promoting health

An important solution to getting parents’ cooperation to work with the nursery to promote their children’s health was through education. The importance of working with parents to educate them about the benefits of healthy eating and drinking has been looked at in detail throughout the course and is a focus of Session 7. Education about healthy eating for families helps to dispel some of the myths that need ‘busting’ as described by Karen Neal on the video in Session 7. Education can also help to allay parents’ fears, for example, the fears that many parents have about children choking if they’re given crunchy foods that need careful chewing as described in Section 1.

Karen and Nicola mentioned that it’s important to use a range of different approaches to educating parents. Not one size fits all, some parents benefit from visual health promotion information, such as the examples in Session 7. Other parents may benefit form a one-to-one chat.

Staff may also need to be educated about the benefits of healthy eating and drinking. They may also need to think about the ‘Rs of health promotion’, which are outlined in Session 7.

Staff can also reflect on the changes that they feel have come about because of the health promotion activities. For example, Karen and Nicola described how they observed that by encouraging the children to be more physically active helped them to concentrate better, and in turn this helped their learning.

Other benefits of healthy eating and drinking resulted in fewer illnesses and, therefore, fewer absences in the nursery. They also noticed positive changes in the children’s behaviour.