The YMCA embraces a holistic approach to positive youth development.  Our staff are professional role models who nurture the potential of each child on their unique journeys from birth to career.  But the Y cannot do this work alone.  In 10,000 communities across the country, families and caretakers play a critical role in the development of youth.

1. Be a Positive Role Model: Encourage healthy habits in your home with friendly competition and family challenges.  Come up with your own challenges such as keeping track of who drinks more water, walks the most steps, or reads books more often.  The Y can assist with creating fun activities and providing resources like ready-made rules and scorecards – just ask!

2. Reduce Screen Time: Children younger than 2 should have no exposure to TV, cell phones, or other digital devices.  For children older than 2, the recommended screen time is less than one hour per day.  Replace screen times with creative projects or at-home STEM activities.  For additional suggestions, ask Y youth development staff.

3. Encourage Choosing Water: When it comes to beverages, make water the primary option for yourself and your children.  Unflavored low-fat or nonfat milk are also healthy choices.  Limiting unhealthy beverage choices increases the likelihood that children will choose these options and develop healthier thirst-quenching habits.  Resources that encourage drinking more water are available at

DID YOU KNOW?  By the time children turn 10, every extra hour of screen time they absorbed as toddlers translates into lower academic performance, reduced physical activity and victimization by middle school peers.