This FAQ guide is meant to provide answers to 4-H leaders who are thinking about participating in the 4th H for Health Challenge with their clubs. Answers highlight the real experiences of other club leaders like you!
Q: How can I be sure that the kids in my club will eat healthier snacks?
A: Kids are surprisingly open to trying new things, especially when they’re in a group of their peers! An important part of the 4th H for Health Challenge is making it fun and exciting for kids. A club leader in New Hampshire found that her kids didn’t complain at all about eating healthy snacks at meetings. This club leader had success by serving veggies with hummus (see here for dip recipes) and kept kids engaged during snack time by talking about growing vegetables in a garden.
Q: Aren’t fruits and vegetables more expensive than other snack options?
A: Actually, depending on the fruits and vegetables, you can both give your kids healthier snack options AND save money. Affordable fruits and veggies include bananas, oranges, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, and celery. Some 4-H clubs have even worked with their local grocery store to get healthy snacks donated to the group!
Q: What if I prefer not to do physical activity with the kids in my club?
A: Leaders across the country who have completed the Challenge are surprised how much they enjoyed trying out the Move More activity suggestions with their kids. That said, it’s easy to make it work without participating! Try assigning an eager club member to lead the activities at the beginning of each meeting. You can rotate leader duties so a new child gets a chance every time you meet.
Q: My kids are already really hyper; won’t more activity make it even worse?
A: Surprisingly, they might actually be less hyper! By letting your kids engage in some physical activity, they can burn off extra energy at the start of the meeting. One club leader from Massachusetts noted that by participating in the Challenge, her kids worked off their extra energy and then were more focused for the remainder of their time together.
Q: How do I make sure that parents are on board with healthier meetings?
A: It can help to keep parents engaged, or at least let them know about your plans to start the 4th H for Health Challenge. Consider sending a note or email home to provide info about the Challenge and the benefits of healthier meetings (see an example here). Most parents are excited to learn that you’re helping their kids develop healthy habits!
Q: What if the kids in my club seem reluctant to try the healthy activities required in the 4th H for Health Challenge?
A: One club leader provides the perfect answer to this question: “Go for it! Lead by example. Youth are more likely to try new things once you’ve modeled it for them.” Check out the materials on www.HealthyKidsHub.org/4H for ideas and activities to get started!
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture