Summer is just around the corner and with it children’s break from the routine—mornings spent sleeping in, afternoons spent watching television or playing video games in the cool air conditioning and evenings enjoying a nice ice cream cone before bed. It may sound great, but a summer spent like this can have lasting negative effects.
Kids are less physically active and engaged in learning during the summer months and research shows that children gain weight two to three times faster than during the school year. In addition to that, kids can fall behind academically because they don’t have access to out-of-school learning opportunities.
For these reasons, it is important not to let children idle away their summer days but instead, focus on physical and mental play. When a child is healthy, happy, motivated and excited, they will find themselves enjoying their summer break even more.
The following are tips to help families develop healthy habits:
• High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. Keep kids’ taste buds evolving by having everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
• Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
• Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
• Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
• Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.
All kids deserve to have the best summer ever. If you follow these tips, you are giving your children, and your family, the opportunity to experience a healthy, active and engaged summer break.