It’s Important to Keep Your Kids Active During the Summer
It’s easy to ditch healthy habits and active routines when kids are out of school. While kids aren’t always guaranteed the 60 recommended minutes of physical activity as part of their school’s PE curriculum, those classes and recess activities at least provide some escape from the sedentary lifestyle of computer games and television watching.
How to keep your kids active this summer
It’s important to continue these healthy habits as the summer months go by. With that said, here are 11 ways to keep your kids active which won’t break the bank, but might just help you stay in shape, too.
1. Sign Them Up for a Team
This is one of the easiest ways for children to stay active in the summer months. Most cities and towns have at least one sports league for kids. Joining a sports team is a fantastic way to get your child outside and interacting with other children their age.
If finances are a barrier to registering your child for a sports team, there are various grants you may be eligible for, locally and nationally. In the US, this includes KIDS in the GAME’s Pass program and support from national associations such as Soccer Across America and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
2. Head to the Beach or Pool
Summer heat and humidity can breed lethargic and lazy behavior in children. And who can blame them? It can be hard to be active when it’s too hot outside. But if you pay a visit to a community pool or beach during particularly warm days, your child will have the chance to be active while staying cool.
Pack the beach ball and Frisbee to offer fun physical activities once you arrive. Just be sure to sunscreen up and drink a lot of water!
3. Have Them Walk for Their Snacks
Sweets like popsicles, ice cream, and slushies are all but synonymous with summer. But eating too many of these sugary substances is unhealthy. Rather than having these treats accessible in a grab-and-go manner in your freezer, make them an incentive for getting a bit of exercise.
Most neighborhoods have a grocery shop or corner store that will sell these frozen delicacies, and children should be encouraged to walk to these locations with a parent, older friend, or babysitter in order to cash in on that treat.
You’ll receive a lot less moaning and groaning during physical activity if your child knows there’s something tasty waiting at the other end.
4. Encourage Active Transportation
This is a tip that will help both you and your child stay active this summer. With the wonderful warm weather and long sunny days, why not take the opportunity to leave the car at home and get from point A to point B using foot or pedal power? The money you save from not buying gas can even be used towards a fun physical activity when you reach your destination.
5. Discover Local Hotspots
Is there a hiking trail or community park you’ve always wanted to check out? Summer weekends are the perfect opportunity for adventure to a place where you’ve never been. Plan ahead and pack a kid-friendly picnic so you and your family can spend the entire day outdoors.
6. Purchase Active Toys
Some toys require physical activity in order to play with them. We’re talking about jump ropes, Frisbees, and balls of all sizes. Stocking up on these toys will encourage active behavior all summer long.
Jungle gyms in your yard or at a local playground will also foster active kids, with all the hanging and swinging helping to build their muscular strength and endurance.
7. Limit TV and Computer Time
Keeping kids active starts in the home. pixDid you know that American children spend an average of 7 hours a day using computers, phones, and other electronic devices? While children may need to research homework on the computer during the school year, the summer months are when you should limit the amount of screen time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children aged 2 to 5 be allowed a maximum of one hour of television each day, with no more than two hours a day for older children. Just think of all the physical activity you could fit into the day by cutting out your child’s over-reliance on technology!
8. Change Up Their Chair
Speaking of screen time, your kids can’t become couch potatoes if they’re not allowed to sit on the couch. Invest in a child-sized yoga ball and challenge your child to sit on that ball rather than a couch or chair. Sitting on a yoga ball will engage their abdominal muscles and will also improve their balance and stability skills.
Plus, what child doesn’t love bouncing around on a giant ball?
9. Plan a Playdate
Physical activity is more fun when you’ve got someone to do it with. Talk to the parents in your neighborhood about planning regular playdates for your kids. This will build a summer routine based around a healthy activity and will split the work of supervising physical activity between you and other adults. Keeping your kids active can become a fun experience for adults and children alike with playdates.
10. Lead by Example
If a playdate isn’t possible, why not join your child for some physical activity? After all, kids are more likely to be active if they see their parents are being active, too.
Research carried out in Canada found that children were 35% more likely to reach the recommended hour of daily physical activity if parents also participated in those activities. Likewise, a study conducted by the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital monitored the daily activity levels of parents and their children.
It found that when parents engaged in a minute of physical activity, their child’s activity tracker almost always spiked in accordance.
Be an active role model for your child and both of you will be healthier as a result.
11. Talk to Their PE Teacher
Most physical education teachers will be happy to meet with parents who have a genuine desire to keep their children healthy over the summer months. PE teachers will have the best sense of where a child’s physical fitness level stands, and the area kids should work on over the summer.
They can also provide resources and further tips for how you can continue their good work until school resumes. Using this resource will allow you to keep your kids active all summer.
With these tips in mind, you and your child will be able to take full advantage of the beautiful summer weather and stay fit and healthy until the first day of school and beyond — even if you’re going on vacation!
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