Mindfulness for our 4-H Cloverbud Members

Whoo! We made it through the holidays!  But with all that hustle and bustle, we tend to forget to take time to check in on how we are feeling. If we, as adults, forget to check in on ourselves, imagine how hard it may be for our 4-H Cloverbud members to express how they are feeling. January is a hard month because it tends to be cold, dreary and all the holiday fun is over. This is a great time to talk to our members about ways to take care of their mental health and well-being.

Mindfulness is a way to bring connection between the brain, mind, body, and behavior.  It is easy for many of us to fall into the trap of worry and having our minds run a mile a minute and that can happen to our youth, too. There are so many demands on our children these days that it may be difficult for them to take time to be calm and quiet, and their bodies need that rest.

Find some activities that your Cloverbud members like or challenge them to come up with their own mindful activity. Maybe they will suggest coloring, writing in a journal, if they are a little bit older, or just taking deep breaths. Any of these activities are a great start to practice mindfulness.

When we can host meetings again in person, try adding one of these activities at the start or the end of your Cloverbud club meeting. If you are meeting virtually, you could take time to read a book or start the meeting with a few deep breaths. As stated in previous Cloverbud Connections, it is important for our younger members to take time to acknowledge their feelings and begin learning how to process those feelings.

A favorite activity for our members, which is easy to do and does not require any additional items, is a grounding exercise. Grounding allows us to reconnect with our surroundings and take a moment to refocus and relax. Try the following activity with your members.

Grounding Activity for Cloverbuds:

  • Advisors or Adult Volunteers can read the following script:
    • Sit in a way that is comfortable for you. This may be on a blanket on the floor, in a chair at a meeting, or outside if the weather is nice.
    • Once you have found a good spot, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in and out.
    • We are going to sit as still and as quiet as possible, take another deep breath in and out. Use your listening ears to identify all the sounds you can hear. Make a list in your mind of 3 things you hear. Maybe it is a buzzing of a fan or it is so quiet you do not hear anything.
    • Now while we are still sitting still and quiet – take a big breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take a minute to see if you smell anything. Maybe there is a smell you did not notice when the meeting started like flowers or crayons. Make a list in your mind of 3 things you smell.
    • One last time still sit as quiet and still as possible – take one more big breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now we are going to use our sense of feel. You can put your hands on the ground next to you or out on the table. What are some things you feel like the cold floor or a rough table? Make a list in your mind of 3 things you feel.
  • Remember if you are able to model or demonstrate what you are doing that may help some members – Sometimes kids like to open their eyes to see if they’re doing the right thing or to make sure they aren’t alone.
  • Once you have read through the Mindfulness script, ask members to share what they heard, smelled, or felt. This is an effective way to reflect on the activity and create a connection between youth if they noticed similar things.
  • This is a great activity that can be modified as needed for the meeting location, group, etc. You could also offer those older members an opportunity to read the script or create their own relaxing story to share.

We hope you are learning new ways to take care of yourself and your members during Ohio 4-H’s Mental Health Month. Be sure to share any new ideas you have learned or tried so that others can use them in their club meetings or with their members. We hope you are using your health for better living this January!

For additional resources visit go.osu.edu/MentalHealthMonth or Coping with COVID: go.osu.edu/CopingWithCOVID  (“Just Breathe!,” and “Guided Relaxation”)

Sources:
https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/major-program-areas/healthy-relationships/mindful-wellness
Powers-Barker, P. “Introduction to Mindfulness”. 05/10/2016. Retrieved from: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5243

Focus your Head, Heart, and Hands on the 4th H at the Fair!

Although fairs might have a reputation for deep fried foods and rides, there are plenty of ways to make a day at the fair healthier for you and your young child.

Here are some suggestions:

HEAD

  • Plan ahead. Before you head to the fair, offer your child a healthy meal or snack.  Fresh or frozen fruit is a good choice, since it might be difficult to find at the fair.
  • Seek out healthier food options at the fair. Most fairs offer some or all of these items. Although some contain added sugar or a fair amount of sodium, they are healthier choices than corn dogs, fries, and elephant ears.
    • Corn on the cob
    • Roasted nuts
    • Dipped fruits
    • Pickles
    • Popcorn
    • Turkey leg (often big enough for the whole family!)
  • Don’t be fooled! For example, before you order a “fruit smoothie” ask if it has real fruit in it or if it comes from a mix.
  • Avoid smoking areas and ask that tobacco and e-cigarette policies be enforced so children won’t breathe secondhand smoke.

HEART

  • Getting your heart rates up by walking depends on comfortable feet. You and your child will see and do more at the fair if you both wear the right shoes.  Athletic shoes might be better than sandals, as you might need to walk through gravel, dirt, grass, straw, or even mud.
  • Help your child identify one thing he or she really loves about the fair, and spend plenty of time making the most of that experience. It might be a ride, a game, a certain barn, or a petting zoo. If it involves a sweet or fried treat, choose a reasonable serving size or consider splitting it among several people. For example, one funnel cake can serve up to 4-6 people. After the treat, enjoy some lower sugar and lower fat items at the fair.

HANDS

  • Carry a water bottle so your child can stay hydrated without loading up on sugary soda with empty calories. Save money by refilling the water bottle at the drinking fountain. For a fun beverage, order a hand-shaken lemonade with half the usual sugar.
  • Slap on a hat and spread on plenty of sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned, even when the day is a little cloudy.
  • Avoid spreading disease by not eating in the barns, washing hands (yours and your child’s) before you eat, and washing hands after touching animals. If you can’t find hand-washing stations with soap and water, use hand sanitizers.

Fun Fit Hike

According to the National Association for Sports and Fitness, children 6 – 12 years of age need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise daily. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy heart. Outdoor exercise is just a trail, large yard or park away and a hike is one of the
simplest ways to get children outdoors and moving. Here are a few creative ideas to turn an ordinary hike into fun exercise:
Youth will need:
• Appropriate dress for weather
• Sneakers or trail shoes
• Bottle of water
• Healthy snack

Click here for the complete activity: FunFitHike-1yfyl2j

 

Reprinted from Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Connections – Spring 2008 Edition.

Source: Rebecca Miller, Hocking County Soil and Water Conservation District Education Specialist.

Cloverbud Healthy Lifestyle Lessons

Consider concentrating on health as the topic of your Cloverbud meetings this year. The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities, publication number 4-H 710GPM, contains the following six lessons on health: Fitness Is Fun, Making Healthy Food Choices, Safe at Home, Food Fun, Looking Your Best and Fall Festival: A Harvest of Fun. The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities can be ordered through your local county Extension Office in Ohio for $13.25 plus tax. Although the cost is a little more, it is also available at estore.osu-extension.org.

Another great source for health lessons on safe use of medications is the Generation Rx web-site. Visit www.GenerationRx.org, click on “Take Action” and then on “Elementary” to access an Elementary Resource Toolkit. The information will educate 4-H Cloverbuds about the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Developed through a partnership between The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and the Cardinal Health Foundation, the toolkit contains activity stations, games, worksheets and visual aids to keep children engaged and having fun while learning. There are also educational resources for teenagers and adults.

Campus Connections

Hello again! Great to make this 4-H Cloverbud Connections with you.

This Cloverbud Connections issue is about healthy living. Living healthy is not something that should only be thought about later in life or as an adult, but across the lifespan, including childhood. Cloverbud kids are at a perfect age to start learning and living healthy.
Hopefully you have used and seen The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities which is the latest curriculum written for you, the 4-H Cloverbud advisor. It contains many activities to use with Cloverbud participants. One of the sections is on Healthy Living and contains six curriculum pieces including “Fitness is Fun” and “Making Healthy Food Choices.” There are numerous activities in each curriculum piece to use with Cloverbud children to promote healthy living. If you are not familiar with The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities please check with your local 4-H Youth Development professional.

Thanks for your commitment to the 4-H Cloverbud program as we enhance the healthy development of children throughout the state!