Setting Your Kids Up For Success By Helping Them Stay Healthy
By Contributing Author, Jennifer Landis
Kids look forward to summer every year because they can do whatever they want with their time. Instead of sitting in class and listening to teachers all day, they get to sleep in and eat ice cream. It’s nice to have a break from school, but it can also lead to months on end with little to no activity.
When it’s hot and humid, no one wants to go outside and play on the swingset. It’s a challenge for parents to get their kids moving during the summer, but there are plenty of benefits for kids who get moving.
Read on to discover the best ways to keep your kids active this summer and why you should. With a little encouragement and creativity, you can set your kids up for success by helping them stay healthy.
1. Set Electronic Limits
When kids want to avoid getting sweaty and hanging out in the sun, they’ll likely stay inside and use their favorite electronics. After they enjoy their favorite show or beat another level in their newest video game, ask them to put the electronics away.
Setting daily limits forces kids to imagine other ways to spend their time which can involve getting more active. You may also want to consider finding a middle ground, like asking them to participate in a dance video game that doubles as a cardio workout.
2. Start a Routine
Summer is also a notorious time for kids to struggle with a lack of routine. If parents create a daily schedule that includes some time being active, kids will get used to physical activity.
A recent study by the American Acadamy of Pediatrics found that kids with household routines decreased their risk of obesity, which poses more of a risk for sedentary summer months. Think of making indoor and outdoor routines to give your kids a change of scenery and variety in their day.
3. Join Their Activities
Young kids love spending time with their parents, so participate in their summer activities. They’ll have more fun if you’re playing alongside them, like swinging on a swingset or running through a sprinkler.
Depending on your schedule, it may be easiest to add a walk after dinner or play catch in the morning. Get creative with your time and your kids will learn to love exercising.
4. Invest in Toys
If you tell your kids to play in the backyard, they won’t want to go outside if there aren’t toys to keep them busy.
Make a small investment to keep them active for years to come by buying things like hula hoops, jump ropes, and sports equipment like baseballs and mitts. They can use their imagination to have fun once they have the right tools.
You can also look for reusable toys, like a small playground set or a bicycle. You won’t need the budget to replace them and your kids can use them nearly all year long.
5. Create a Music Playlist
Create a fun music playlist your kids will want to get up and move to! Use their favorite songs or what their P.E. teacher might play during gym class at school. Anything with a fast beat and catchy tune makes it impossible for them to lounge around on the couch.
Even something like a dance-off makes exercise more fun. Play the songs they love and create a prize for the winner, like a popsicle with lunch or ten extra minutes with their favorite video game.
6. Try Indoor Workouts
Though giving your kids vitamins and having them eat healthy food to stay healthy is a great idea, it not enough. But you can remedy this by adding a regular exercise regime.
Studies have shown that kids who exercise during their daily recess miss fewer days of school because they got sick less frequently. So this makes sense to continue exercise during summer break as well.
No matter which kind of exercise your kids do, it will improve their overall health. Prolonged periods of movement flush bacteria from the lungs and alter white cell antibodies, which results in a stronger immune system. When your kids go back to school and flu season begins, they’ll need all the help they can get to stay healthy and continue going to class.
7. Start a Summer Camp
Whether your kids attend a local summer camp or not, you can always host one at home with a few creative ideas. Set up a tent so they spend the night under the stars. Create an obstacle course in the yard, start a tug of war challenge or initiate a water balloon fight.
Summer camp leaders design the camps for entertaining kids and introducing new ways to stay active, which can all happen in your backyard.
Learn Their Limits
Although you might be able to take a walk in the afternoon sunshine or spend an hour at the playground, your kids might not. They’ll have less stamina than adults, so learn their limits and take them inside when they get tired or overheated.
Finding that balance will help them enjoy their summer activities instead of sitting around all day.