Lynn Chutskoff and her son, Trenton, started the Live 5-2-1-0 app when he was 14 years old to help test the app before its public launch last year and now, Trenton is coaching other kids to use it.
5 - Enjoy five or more vegetables and fruits every day
2 - Limit recreational screen time to no more than two hours a day
1 - Play actively for at least one hour a day
0 - Drink zero sugary drinks
The app supports kids to build a weekly goal focused on one habit at a time, including picking a reward, which they earn if they complete their activity for the week.
“From a parent’s perspective, It transfers the responsibility of making those healthy choices to the child or youth and it’s not something parents are forcing them to do,” says Lynn. “My son probably felt like he was part of the experiment a few years ago, but he has recently been a coach for a camp that uses Live 5-2-1-0 as its theme. Now, he gets it."
"Live 5-2-1-0 is a great way for kids to start good habits and learn they can take care of themselves, one goal at a time," says Trenton. "That can translate into adulthood."
Up to five people in the same household can be added to the app. Rewards can be things such as buying a new book or playing a board game with a parent for an hour.
"If they choose the reward of spending more time with their parent, that’s huge."
The app was launched last year. More than 680 activities have been completed by kids on the app. It now has about 530 current users, with 45 new users signing up each month.
Lynn says the app is great for making healthy habits a topic for family discussion, which may not happen otherwise.
“Good habits become recognized when they are talked about as a family,” says Lynn. “Decisions can be made on which habits to start and everybody is there to support them. The app gives you a daily reminder, which is super helpful because it provides that moment to reconnect and talk about whether the goal was done that day or not. If not, it provides enough time in the day to complete it.”
As the weather warms up, spring is a perfect time to set those healthy-habit goals.
Lynn says, after a few days, her son knew the reminder was the time to connect with his parents about his goal and he made space for that 15-minute conversation because he knew it was for his health.
"I think that once kids are educated that they’re in control, they realize it’s a matter of their choice," says Lynn. "I noticed a few days into using the app, he knew what needed to be done."
She’s encouraging families to try it, even just for a week.
“It gives you a simple, focussed conversation and lets your kids know you care about their health and well-being. It shows there’s support and research behind these habits and that their community cares about their health. BC Children’s Hospital wants them to be happy and healthy.”
Live 5-2-1-0 is an initiative of BC Children’s Hospital. It is supported by the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Learn more about the initiative and the Live 5-2-1-0 app.