Have you ever said “Wow, this is so beautiful!” about a piece of artwork your young child proudly shows you all the while wondering “What in the world is it supposed to be?” You are not alone! Most parents face the dilemma of trying to interpret what appears to be just scribbles on a page. However, that indecipherable collection of colors, shapes, and marks is actually the beginning of an exciting stage of development for your little one. This exploration is the foundation for learning to write. Drawing and writing lead to increased communication and understanding of how the world works and their place in it.

child scribble on wall

According to Zero to Three, there are five stages of drawing and writing that you may see as your child grows from 15 months old to 3 years old.

Stage 1: Random Scribbling (15 months to 2½ years). They are just figuring out that they are making the lines and scribbles on the paper.

Stage 2: Controlled Scribbling (2 years to 3 years). Their scribbles become more controlled. They love the way crayons, markers, play-doh, and paper smell and feel (and taste, so keep watch!).

Stage 3: Lines and Patterns (2½ years to 3½ years). They realize that their drawing conveys meaning. They may draw a sun and then tell you about it.

Stage 4: Pictures of Objects or People (3 years to 5 years). Symbolic thinking skills are present when he draws to convey meaning. They have a story to tell and then draws it.

Stage 5: Letter and Word Practice (3 to 5 years). They create content to communicate thoughts.

What can parents do to prepare their child for writing?

As with most development, parents must understand that all children develop at their own pace. Pushing a child to master a skill before they are ready could have negative consequences.  However, providing opportunities to explore materials, strengthen fine motor skills, unleash imaginations, and learn through play is the perfect way for a parent to support an emergent writer. According to Donna Whittaker (VP of curriculum and education at Big Blue Marble Academy), “Young children can build muscles by manipulating small objects, drawing, scribbling, painting, smearing, playing with Play-Doh, scooping, pouring and squeezing,”

Kid Sense offers these additional tips for strengthening your child’s fine motor skills:

  • Threading or lacing with a variety of sized laces.
  • Scissor projects that involve cutting.
  • Tongs or teabag squeezers to pick up objects.
  • Drawing or writing on a vertical surface.
  • Activities that require finger strength such as opening containers and jars.
  • Practice drawing the pre-writing shapes (l, —, O, +, /, square, \, X, and Δ).
  • Finger games that practice specific finger movements such as Incy wincy Spider.
  • Craft: Make things using old boxes, egg cartons, wool, paper, and sticky or masking tape.
  • Construction: Building with Duplo, Lego, Mobilo, or other construction toys.

As adults we should encourage and support a child’s attempts above the finished product. Try saying, “I love all the colors you used” or “Tell me about your picture” rather than “What is this?” or criticizing work.

If you have concerns that your child is experiencing difficulty meeting any developmental milestones, speak with a pediatrician who can properly assess your child’s development.

Written by: Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewed by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County.


Borst, H, (2021), How Children Learn to Wrote, https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/articles/how-children-learn-to-write

Learning to write and draw (2017), https://www.zerotothree.org/resource/learning-to-write-and-draw/

HealthyChildren.org, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/find-pediatrician/Pages/Pediatrician-Referral-Service.aspx

Writing Readiness (Pre-Writing) Skills, Kid Sense. https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/writing/writing-readiness-pre-writing-skills/

We all have seen or experienced a situation when a child is having a meltdown due to experiencing big emotions without the capability to identify, understand, or regulate their feelings. When a child is struggling to make these connections, it is easy for a parent to jump straight to punish, distract, lecture…anything to quiet them down and get them “back in line.” However, we first need to take a moment to connect with the child.

Two small children playing in the fall leaves. Photo by Charles Parker on Pexels.com

Researchers link the parent’s ability to connect with the child can help the child move from a reactive state (fight/flight/freeze brain) to a receptive state (logical/problem-solving brain). It is in the receptive state when a child is in a teachable moment frame of mind. In Siegel & Bryson’s (2016) book, No-Drama Discipline, “when we offer comfort when our kids are upset; when we listen to their feelings; when we communicate how much we love them even when they’ve messed up: when we respond in these ways, we significantly impact the way their brains develop and the kind of people they’ll be, both now and as they move into adolescence and adulthood.”

Connecting validates the emotion but doesn’t excuse the inappropriate behavioral reaction. It is through the steps of the RULER method that helps the child to identify and self-regulate.

Managing emotions using the power of connecting and the RULER method teaches children five skills that will increase their emotional intelligence and their ability to use their emotions to guide their thinking and actions, (Brackett & Rivers, 2014).

R – Recognizing emotion

U – Understanding emotion

L- Labeling emotion

E- Expressing emotion

R- Regulating emotion

It can be difficult for adults to fully recognize, understand and label our own emotions. Children don’t have the vocabulary to use words to identify their feelings and they haven’t had enough life experience to be able to read body language or facial cues (Mincemoyer, 2016). These are learned skills where you as the parents/caregivers are the role models.

As a parent/caregiver, talking about your emotions throughout the day helps children to identify and label their emotions. For example, say, “I am feeling sad (happy, angry, excited, nervous, etc.) today because… How can you tell I am feeling sad?”

Emotions are not bad, and we do not want to discourage them from expressing their emotions, but we also must establish boundaries, social standards, and household expectations. For example, it is OK to be angry, but it is not OK to express that anger by hitting a sibling, breaking an object, etc. It is great to be excited, but it is not OK to be jumping off the furniture.

To help your child, be proactive by teaching and practicing coping and expressing skills before their emotions become overwhelming (McLean, 2020). Coping skills are a way to help your child to regain a feeling of balance, rather than being overwhelmed. Skills such as breathing techniques, mindfulness, seeking support from an adult, looking at funny pictures, laughing, or working a puzzle. Encouraging them to use their 5 senses is a great way to redirect that energy in a productive way that allows for expression and yet recognizes and validates that emotion.

It can feel hard to change our parenting style but using RULER may help you and your child better to manage emotions during a difficult time. During the upcoming week, I encourage you to first work on connecting with your child using your words and actions to help move your child into a receptive/teachable state.

Writer: Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County.

Reviewer: Heather Reister, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

Smiling Asian American woman embracing her smiling child outdoors demonstrating how summer break can be enjoyable.

It’s that time of year again and school is out! Many parents struggle with or wonder how to maintain healthy habits and structure outside of the school year. For most kids, summer means freedom, late nights, eating whatever you want, and warm weather but it can also present a lot of stress as routines are typically thrown off. As parents, we want summer to be a time for our kids to make memories and enjoy themselves, but we also want to make sure they continue to thrive, be safe, and maintain healthy habits. Maintaining structure can help with the transition back to school, but inserting new and fun activities allows kids to enjoy summer “break”. 

So, you may be wondering, how do we maintain structure and still allow for fun? 

Here are some ways that you can help your child have a healthy, productive, and enjoyable summer:


It is recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Help your children remain active by getting them involved in summer camps, summer sports/activities, walking, biking, skating, outdoor games or even swimming and canoeing. Look out for free or low-cost sport camps at schools and local rec-centers. 

Make sure to remember water safety  and sun safety tips!


Try to keep and maintain set bedtimes, wake-up routines. Times do not have to be as early as they were during the school year, but maintaining routines should be consistent throughout the summer. Change up chore charts and rules to allow for some flexibility, but do not completely remove all responsibilities. This can also help with the transition back to school and avoid power struggles when trying to bring back a routine.


Not only do we engage our children by promoting physical activity but also by allowing them to be a part of the educational activities. If online games and activities are scheduled into the day, try USDA’s Kids’ Corner to help promote curiosity about agriculture, food and nutrition. 

Involve children in games that allow them to practice math or reading skills. Most libraries offer summer reading programs with incentives and activities for children.


Get kids excited about healthy habits! Try to keep a routine by having your kids eat at the same time each day to provide balance and structure. Involve your children in meal planning , growing, purchasing, and cooking food.  Involvement in the meal process gets them excited to try new things. Don’t forget drinks – during warm summer days, it is even more important to ensure that your children are getting enough water

For more tips and information, please visit the sources below:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/features/SHB-Healthy-Summer-Tip-Sheet-FINAL-508.pdf

USDA: https://www.nutrition.gov/topics/nutrition-life-stage/children

EatRight: https://www.eatright.org/food/food-preparation/seasonal-foods/summer-is-time-for-kids-to-try-new-foods

On Our Sleeves, Nationwide Childrens Hospital: https://www.onoursleeves.org/mental-wellness-tools-guides/healthy-habits/maintain-summer-structure

Written by:  Brittany Kryling, dietetic intern, and Jennifer Little, FCS Educator, OSU Extension Hancock County.

Reviewed by:  Megan Taylor, FCS/4-H Educator, OSU Extension, Union County

Owner walking Golden Retriever dog in the park

Most people have the urge to be more active during the summer months, but with our busy schedules, getting active can seem impossible. It is recommended that adults get around 150 minutes of exercise each week. The good news is that you can be physically active throughout your entire day, you don’t have to do everything at once.

7 No-Brainer Ways to Boost your Activity Level

  1. Grab the leash and walk your dog. 
  2. Take your kid (or your spouse) for a walk. 
  3. Try the 10-Minute Workout. Stuck at home? Boost your heart rate and brain power with this quick home workout.
  4. Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your chair. Make it a habit to talk and walk.
  5. Tune into fitness. Walk or jog in place, do yoga or lift weights, or walk on the treadmill at the gym while you watch your must-see TV shows.
  6. Ditch the car. Spare yourself the parking stress and log some more active time by parking farther away (or even leaving the car at home) and walking or biking to your destination.
  7. Take the stairs. 

Physical activity has many added benefits. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides many benefits of physical activity.

Benefits of Physical Activity:

  1. Improves brain health
  2. Helps manage weight
  3. Reduces the risk of disease
  4. Strengthens bones and muscles
  5. Improves your ability to do everyday activities

Life can be busy, and it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Try to follow the recommendations for physical activity for your age group. There are many benefits that could improve your health and overall lifestyle.


“Benefits of Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 June 2022, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.

“No Time for Exercise? Here Are 7 Easy Ways to Move More!” Www.Heart.Org, 20 Oct. 2022, http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/getting-active/no-time-for-exercise-here-are-7-easy-ways-to-move-more.

Author: Megan Taylor, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H Youth Development, Union County

Reviewer: Jennifer Little, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Hancock County

Waste Less Food

a plate of food scraps arranged to spell "love food hate waste"

Did you know that food waste takes up more space in our landfills than anything else? According to the 2018 Wasted Food Report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounts for 24% –almost a quarter – of all municipal solid waste sent to landfills. The majority of this food waste comes from consumers and households. As such, the EPA has created a Food Recovery Hierarchy to prioritize strategies to reduce food waste. This hierarchy follows the 3 Rs of solid waste reduction: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Source reduction, or reducing the volume of surplus food generated, is the most preferred strategy, followed by feeding hungry people, feeding animals, using food for industrial purposes (all ways to reuse food), and composting (recycling). Sending food to the landfill or to be incinerated is the least preferred waste reduction strategy.

So, what can you as a consumer do to reduce the amount of surplus food you generate?

  • Shop your fridge first and use the ingredients you have on hand before they spoil.
  • Plan your meals and shop using a list of needed ingredients to avoid buying excess.
  • Learn how to read food labels and don’t misinterpret expiration dates on food that is perfectly good to eat.
  • Store food properly, keeping your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F and your freezer at or below 0 degrees F. Make sure to chill perishable foods and leftovers properly by refrigerating or freezing them within 2 hours of being out at room temperature, and consume them within days. Store fruits and vegetables separately in moisture-proof bags and wash them just prior to use. Know which fruits and vegetables to store in the refrigerator and which ones to leave out.
  • Use an app like the USDA’s Food Keeper to help keep track of what is in your fridge and when it needs to be used.

To learn more about food waste, test your knowledge with this quiz from the Save More than Food campaign or watch this video featuring Ohio State University Professor Brian Roe. 

Written by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County.

Reviewed by Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Warren County.


Werling, R. & Nwadike, L. (2020). Working Together to Reduce Food Waste. Kansas State University. https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3482.pdf

United States Environmental Protection Agency (2022). Sustainable Management of Food. https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food

United States Environmental Protection Agency (2020). 2018 Wasted Food Report. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-11/documents/2018_wasted_food_report.pdf

underwater photography of young friends swimming.

Summer is upon us: trips to the pool, or lake, vacations to the beach, or water sports adventures. Family time at the pool or on the water can create lasting memories. But did you know that no matter how well someone can swim, no one is ever “drown-proof”?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 and is the second leading cause of unintentional death in ages 5 to 14.

            Water competency is essential to improve water safety by avoiding dangers, developing water safety skills, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies. Water competency includes (1) being water smart, (2) swimming skills, and (3) helping others. All of us need to be water smart any time we are around water, even if we do not plan to go for a swim. This includes knowing your limitations, never swimming alone, wearing a life jacket, understanding unique water environments, and swimming sober. Learning to perform these five swimming skills in every type of water environment can help save a life:

  1. Enter water that is over your head and calmly return to the surface
  2. Float or tread water for at least one minute
  3. Turn over or turn around in the water
  4. Swim at least 25 yards
  5. Be able to exit the water

Help others: This means, paying close attention to children or weak swimmers, knowing the signs of drowning, learning to safely assist a drowning person, such as “reach or throw, don’t go,” and knowing CPR and first aid.

Movies and television make us believe that drowning is splashy and loud. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite; someone could be drowning a few feet away, and you would not know it; drowning is often silent. It’s important to learn the seven warning signs that someone is drowning.

Consider these ideas to be safe around water this summer:

  • Designate an adult to be a water watcher – eliminate distractions such as long conversations, cell phone usage, or reading.
  • Create family swim rules and utilize swim buddies of similar age and skill.
  • Utilize U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejackets.
Children learning to swim with instructor

Learning to swim is one of the best ways to help your family and make everyone safer around the water. Summer is a great time to find swim lessons in your community; check out your local Red Cross, YMCA, parks and recreation centers, swim clubs, and swim teams for affordable swim lessons in your area.


American Red Cross. (n.d.-d). Water safety. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html

Drowning facts. (2022, March 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html

Talks, R. C. (n.d.). What does drowning sound and look like? https://www.redcross.ca/blog/2019/6/what-does-drowning-sound-and-look-like

U.S. Coast Guard. (n.d.). Life jacket wear/Wearing your life jacket. Boat Responsibly. https://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/life-jacket-wear-wearing-your-life-jacket.php

Photo Credit:

Children swimming underwater: Adobe Stock (418941209)

Children learning to swim with instructor: Adobe Stock (28261075)

Written by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County.

Reviewed by: Laura Stanton Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County.

Copyright Haven Life

I am reminded of the challenges families face as we pay our monthly costs for living today. During the first week of every month, I go through the process of paying for regular fixed monthly expenses. Fixed expenses have a specific due date with an amount set by signing a contractual agreement such as rent/mortgage, a student loan, internet, cellphone, or car payment.  Other types of regular expenses may have a variable amount due each month based on monthly purchases or usage rate such a credit cards and utilities.  We receive paper or electronic statements monthly to advise us of payments due. Other spending categories that are fixed with variable costs are food, gasoline, clothing, personal care, and health expenses.  Paying bills today seems to take more time and energy than before the pandemic. Director Chopra at the April 2023 Financial Literacy and Education Commission meeting stated the pandemic turbocharged a transition to banking and digital payments. These changes include:

  • An uptick in trading individual stocks and crypto assets
  • A marked increase in the number of banked individuals, as illustrated through a recent FDIC Ohio survey
  • A jump in consumer reliance on digital payments platforms.
  • The pandemic, Economic Impact Payments and social changes propel banks to increase Junk Fees
  • Further adoption and increased use of apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Cash App.

These banking transitions have increased risk and added additional time and effort to paying our bills.  We are constantly challenged to navigate the sea of emergent digital products and services being marketed to us. 

Revisit Ohio State University Extension’s Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” as families work to achieve financial wellness during this time of rapid social and economic change. Managing and controlling our spending and saving is needed to build hope and manage emergent financial stress.

The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –

•          Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants

•          Identify realistic/SMARTER goals

•          Gather current financial saving and spending information

•          Locate emergency resources

•          Analyze their current budget

•          Develop a “sustainable” Accounting for Your Money calendar

•          Take control of spending resulting in increased saving for family goals.

Work through the steps of the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest with your family members and/or co-spenders as you and your family adjust to changing basic needs and wants. Determine how to best spend your money during this period of rapid social and economic change. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the change, reducing financial emergencies, and easing future financial stress.

Written by: Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Mahoning County


1. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/prepared-remarks-director-rohit-chopra-april-2023-financial-literacy-education-commission/

2. 2021 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

3. COVID-19 Drives Global Surge in use of Digital Payments (worldbank.org)

4. How did the pandemic change the way we bank? (clevelandfed.org) and Trends in the Noninterest Income of Banks (clevelandfed.org)

5. Comparing Overdraft Fees and Policies across Banks (CFPB Blog)

Longer days and warmer weather have many of us outside, in the garden, on trails and enjoying all that Spring and Summer have to offer. Remember tick exposure may occur year around, yet ticks are most active during warmer months. Outdoor enthusiasts and pet owners be cautious.   Ticks and the disease they carry are on the rise in Ohio. This year is predicted to be a heavy tick season.  The factors that contribute to these growing numbers are tick range expansion and the increase of wildlife living near people. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this tick season.

Know before you go outdoors:

  • Know where to expect ticks- they live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas or on animals. Walking your dog, camping, gardening or outdoors exposes you to ticks.
  • Wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts with pants tucked into socks.
  • Apply a tick repellent according to the directions.
  • Purchase clothing and footwear treated with tick repellent.
  • Protect pets with a tick repellent recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and avoid grassy areas.

After you come indoors:

  • Check clothing for ticks. Ticks can be carried into the house on clothing. Wash clothes and dry on high heat to destroy ticks.
  • Examine your gear and pets.
  • Check your body for ticks upon return.  Use a handheld mirror to view all parts of your body.  Check all areas especially under the arms, in and around the ears, inside belly button and the back of knees, in and around the hair, inside of legs and around the waist. 
  • Examine your animals for ticks. Especially around the ears, tail, back legs, between toes, eyelids, under the collar and under the front legs.

Create a tick-safe zone in your yard:

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grass and brush around the house and lawns.
  • Place a 3-foot barrier of woods chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from trees.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses or trash from the yard that give ticks a place to hide.
  • Do frequent tick checks of your body while outside and do a thorough inspection at shower time.
  • Protect your pets with an anti-tick product recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and avoid allowing them into weedy areas.

If you find a tick attached:

  • Do not crush or puncture.
  • Grasp tick as close to skin as able using pointy tweezers and pull straight up and out with steady pressure.
  • Wash the tick site, hands and tweezers with warm water and soap.
  • Place the tick in a container with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.  Record the day the tick was attached to skin.
  • If you develop flu-like symptoms, rash, or anything unusual, contact your physician for follow up treatment. Bring the tick specimen with you to your appointment.

Have a safe summer and be tick smart.  Follow these guidelines to protect you and your family.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu


Tickborne Diseases in Ohio | Ohio Department of Health

Ticks in Ohio | Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ohiodnr.gov)

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases | Ohioline (osu.edu)Ticks | Ticks | CDC

I was intrigued to read new research from Microsoft that found employees report not having enough uninterrupted focus time during the workday. One of the major factors relating to this lack of time was the 192% increase in the number of online meetings and calls held now versus pre-Covid. When I look at my own calendar, I see groups who used to meet once a month or even quarterly, now meeting every month, many even more often. During my typical week I probably have 3 in-person meetings and at least 4 online meetings. That doesn’t include the teaching I often do – online. A large study of over 30,000 employees held in early 2023 found that inefficient meetings are the number one distraction that impacts productivity, and too many meetings is number two.

So, what can we do about meeting fatigue? Several companies have tried meeting free months, selecting one meeting-free day each week, or just shortening the length of meetings. In these cases, productivity and satisfaction increased, and stress levels were reduced.  Another idea is holding walking meetings. Walking meetings allow you to promote a healthy lifestyle while accomplishing work. An bonus benefit, walking meetings are usually shorter! If you want to try a Walking Meeting, here are a few tips:

  • Avoid noisy areas, so everyone can be heard.
  • Consider scheduling your meeting to avoid times when walking routes are busy (at lunch or right after school lets out).
  • Designate or include stops to ensure everyone is ok and to allow slow walkers to be included.
  • Consider note taking – will you record the meeting, or will someone write-up notes later?

While you are taking steps to reduce the number or length of meetings at your workplace, consider that “Happy Workers are More Productive.” Find ways to bring happiness to your workplace like:

  • Listening
  • Celebrating successes, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc.
  • Recognizing contributions of all staff to projects.
  • Leading by example using positivity, smiles, and humor; and avoiding office gossip.
  • Providing healthy treats every once in a while, like fresh fruit or vegetables, dark chocolate, or popcorn.

Consider ways you can cut out a meeting or two and improve the happiness of those with who you spend your time at work.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

In the original television series Star Trek, Mr. Spock would sometimes give the Vulcan salute, making a ‘V’ with his fingers and saying, “Live long and Prosper”. Fifty plus years later I have a better understanding that healthy aging is doing just that.          space

It seems that if there are behaviors that can be changed to remain healthy it would be ‘logical’ to explore those heathy habits that maintain human life.  Some of the universally recommended strategies by groups like the Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, and the Ohio Department of Aging to live longer are:

Be proactive, get those routine health screenings, annual checkups of vision, hearing, dental, emotional health most health plans encourage them. Most diseases if caught early can better managed or cured in their beginning stages. Maintain a healthy weight and watch those numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol and A1C levels. Be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep.

Maintain social connections. Conversation exercises most of the brain using, speech, vision, hearing, social ques, and memory. Do something that is meaningful to you. Relationships are important.

Keep moving, regular exercise and physical activity is good for the heart and what is good for the heart is good for every system. Moving outside also reduces stress and strengthens the immune system.

Good nutrition is important to keep your body fueled up. Include: fruits, veggies, and whole grains; good fats from nuts, olive oil, and lean protein; and limit sodium. These are included in the DASH and The Mediterranean MIND diets.

On the ‘illogical’ side of health are major health risks like smoking and drinking alcohol in excess both of which are known to shorten lives. Smoking on average shortens life by ten years.

To ‘prosper’ a financial plan is important. Managing income and spending are important for a financially healthy future. Spending less or making more are the only way to change the bottom line in a personal balance sheet.

 What steps can you take to “Live Long and Prosper?”

Written by: Ken Stewart, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Monroe County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Alzheimer’s Assocation, https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain 

American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/habits 

Ohio Department of Aging, https://aging.ohio.gov/about-us