Kids and Their Bones

Building healthy bodies in childhood includes building healthy bones. Bones are living tissue and as children grow, bones go through a regular process of older bone tissue being replaced with new bone tissue. This process can be compared to a bank account. Sometimes bone tissue is removed and other times it is deposited as the skeleton grows in size and density. Bones reach 90% of peak bone mass by age 18 for females and age 20 for males. By age 30, bone density begins to decrease. These facts highlight the importance of focusing on bone health during childhood and adolescence.

Proper nutrition and physical activity are key ingredients for achieving maximum bone density to sustain the skeleton through adulthood. Adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D are essential to bone health. Vitamin D facilitates absorption of calcium. So how much calcium is enough? An 8 ounce glass of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium which is about 1/3 of the daily requirement for children 4 to 8 years of age and about 1/4 of the daily requirement for ages 9 to 18. Check food labels to identify foods high in calcium. A single serving containing at least 20% DV (daily intake value) is considered a high calcium food. Dairy products and calcium-fortified juice and cereals are high calcium foods. Preparing foods like soup, oatmeal and smoothies with milk may appeal to children who don’t like to drink milk. Obtaining calcium from foods is preferable to taking a calcium supplement.

Weight-bearing activities like running, dancing, soccer, gymnastics, etc. all help build bone density. Swimming and cycling are good for general health, but do not contribute to bone density. Playing outside can help increase Vitamin D blood levels though there does not appear to be a firm consensus on how much sunlight exposure is optimum. The effects of sunscreen on Vitamin D absorption are unclear and the protection it offers against skin cancer makes use of sunscreen essential. Instilling enjoyment of physical activity and monitoring calcium intake pave the way for healthy bones that will support children through adulthood.

Parents’ Corner

Nurturing Space
The narthex (the room outside the nave) has been prepared for parents and children as a refuge during worship services in times of high activity and unrest. The narthex has two rocking chairs especially for a grown up person and a small person. The sound is transmitted from the nave so that the connection to the worship is not lost. Canvas bags are waiting by the nave doors to be used by young children. The bags may be taken into the narthex. The nursery is also available as a refuge during church services, with or without parent.

Activity Bags
Activity bags have been lovingly put together by fellow parents for young children. They are by the entrance in the nave. Children love being part of the “big church” and at the same time it is taxing to be in such a big space for such a long time. The wide open space is unfamiliar and unstructured to a little child, and full of people about twice his or her size. The activity bags are offered to make the child feel welcome, look forward to something familiar or to a surprise inside. Please make use of them and return them after church. Look out for calls to renew them for our children’s enjoyment.

Be Still with God
Children love to participate in the grown up world. They can be part of the “big church”, too, when we show them how. Many children pray themselves or with their families. In church children can pray with us. We let them know that now it is time for prayer and we ask God to hear us. We can ask children to help pray for people who are in danger, lonely, sick, sad or afraid; and of course they can join in saying thank you to God for those who are happy about a new baby or a wedding or other special occasions.