For kids, summer vacation symbolizes freedom, free time and fun. However, without the structure of a school day routine, it can be easy for kids to fall into bad habits, such as watching too much TV, playing too many video games or spending too many hours on the computer. While kids may enjoy this type of freedom, spending too much time engaging in sedentary activities like these can quickly lead to unhealthy weight gain.
In fact, a study of more than 5,000 elementary students found that children’s’ body mass indexes (BMI) increased by twice as much over summer vacation when compared to the previous school year. To prevent unnecessary weight gain, here are a few tips on how to keep kids healthy over summer vacation.
Set a schedule
While sleeping-in is a summertime luxury, it can impede the purpose of having a routine. To prevent bad habits that result from boredom, add some structure into your child’s day. Getting up around the same time, planning activities and having scheduled meal times are all great ways to incorporate structure into lazy summer days.
When planning daily activities, limit the amount of time your child spends on the TV and/or computer, and use the extra time to keep your child intellectually and physically fit. Sit down with your child and make a summer bucket list that includes some new activities they want to try, summer camps they want to attend, crafts they want to make or books they want to read.
Stock up on healthy snacks
While some people may argue that schools contribute to childhood obesity, studies have actually shown that kids gain less weight during the school year. This is because schools have scheduled meal times, which prevents kids from snacking excessively throughout the day. Without a structured routine, kids are more likely to snack out of boredom over summer break.
Since snacking is more prevalent in the summertime, it’s important to have healthy options readily available for your children. Taking your child to the grocery store can be a great opportunity to teach your child about healthy eating habits. By having them help you pick out some healthy snacks, they’ll be more likely to enjoy eating healthy alternatives to junk food.
Sign up for a summer sports league
Experts recommend that children should exercise at least 60 minutes each day. Getting your child involved in a summer sports league is a great way to keep them active, help them make new friends and teach them the importance of teamwork. Start by asking your child what sports they’re interested in playing and sign them up.
Make fitness a family affair
While it can be hard to juggle work, family and fitness, summer is a great time to get the entire family active. Without the need to help your children finish homework and study for tests after dinner, you can use this extra time to get outside and play. Instead of watching sitcoms after supper, play some catch, shoot some hoops, take an evening bike ride, walk the dog or go to the park.
For families who like variety in their exercise routine, fitness centers like the YMCA, offer plenty of family friendly activities. Whether you enjoy participating in aerobics classes, taking swimming lessons or playing racquetball, there’s something to satisfy every member of the family.
Drink plenty of water
No matter how you choose to keep your child active this summer, it’s important to make sure they’re staying hydrated. Experts recommend that children should drink at least half of their total body weight in ounces of water each day, especially when playing sports in warm weather. So, whether you’re taking your child to soccer practice or to a friend’s house to play, make sure your child has a water bottle with them.
Our all-natural spring water contains 2% calcium and comes in a variety of sizes. While our 10 ounce water bottles are perfect for kids to take to practice, our 6.5 ounce Absopure Packables are an easy-to-carry option for younger children running out the door to play.
These are just a few options for keeping kids healthy over summer break. While there is not a one size fits all solution, the key is to create a structured routine that works for your family. And, the best way to ensure your child follows the routine is to include them in the planning process.
How do you help your child stay healthy over summer vacation?