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YMCA: Your Partner in Nurturing Healthy Kids

Summer has come to an end and marked a new season for us at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and for families whose children have returned to school. While a new school year can be exciting, it can also cause stress and anxiety for the entire family. Between trying to arrange before and after school care for your children, and registering them in after-school programs, back to school season isn’t always easy. To help families transition smoothly into the new school year, we asked one of our YMCA school age experts, Emily Ryland, for some back to school tips. Here they are:

Stay connected: Keep up to on date on important school events and dates through your school communication portal and newsletters; this helps support you and your child in being an active member of the school community.

Label everything: Clothes, lunch bags, shoes, outdoor gear etc. Not only will the teacher appreciate it, but so will your budget!

Litter-less lunch challenge: Help your child pack litter-less lunches with healthy food choices. Modelling these skills will benefit your child as they become independent decision-makers and develop self-help skills.

Stay active: Ensure your child stays active every day! Regular physical activity, even in small bouts, can help children’s brains on many levels including better cognition, brain function and mental health. Make sure kids stay active by joining a team sport or an after-school program like our YMCA before and after school programs or any of our YMCA children’s programs at our Health and Fitness centres. Remember, kids need a minimum of one hour of physical activity each day!

Read with your child: Reading with your child each day is important and sets your child up for success. Reading develops language skills, exercises the brain, enhances concentration and encourages a thirst for knowledge. It’s also a great opportunity to spend quality time with your child.

YMCA: Your partner in nurturing healthy kids

The YMCA’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Canadians, in spirit, mind and body. Our research has shown that there are many positive benefits of belonging to the YMCA – people tell us they feel less alone, find it easier to make friends, and achieve overall better health. And the same is true for children and youth of all ages.

Studies show that 90 percent of Canadian children ages five to 11 do not meet the minimal 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Rising rates of obesity, related chronic disease and mental illness tell us that getting kids active should be a top priority for parents, schools, and all Canadians. We know that having an active lifestyle in the early years of life is essential to healthy child development and has a positive impact on mental health.

At the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, children are encouraged to take part in activities that not only allow them to build skills in sports, leadership or recreation but to also learn soft skills such as listening, cooperation and team building. It’s a safe place that allows young people to excel in their area of interest while connecting them to caring adults who nurture their skills. The YMCA offers programming specifically designed for preschool and youth to keep them active, engaged and having fun. To learn more about our after-school programs, please visit Registration for the fall sessions are now open. We hope to see you at your local YMCA this fall!

Rob Armstrong is President and CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka; focused on investing in communities, ensuring all people have access to the Y and implementing programs that are helping thousands of youth and families to learn and thrive. Prior to joining the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka in 2011, Rob held senior leadership positions at the YMCA of Edmonton, YMCA of Owen Sound, YMCA of Cambridge and most recently YMCA Ontario. Rob holds an Honours degree in Physical and Health Education from Queen’s University and has since augmented his education with advanced courses from the Harvard Business School of Entrepreneurship, Ivy School of Business and Queen’s University Executive Education Program.

Since coming to Simcoe/Muskoka, Rob has taken an active leadership role in the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County and Barrie’s Pathways to end homelessness. He served on a number of boards including local Community Foundations, Affordable Housing, Parks and Recreation Ontario and the Minister of Health Promotions Health Advisory Committee.

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