Healthy Summer Habits

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Dr. Friedman on KUSI with ideas for keeping kids healthy during the summer.

School is almost out and summer is almost here!  No more teachers, no more books etc… This is great for those of us who have a hard time getting our kids to do their homework or get out of bed in the morning or remember their projects. Soon they will be sleeping in and enjoying the care free days of summer.  For some, they will be off to camps and vacations.  For others, they will be spending their days at home and looking for things to do.  Unfortunately, it won’t take long before they start complaining of boredom.  This boredom frequently results in hours of lying around watching TV or playing on electronic devices.  As we all know, this isn’t the healthiest thing for kids to do.  While there may be some screen time going on, try to balance it out with more enriching activities. Here are some suggestions:

Physical Activity

It is recommended that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day and summer time is no exception.  Summer is a perfect opportunity to get out and have fun.  Being active as a family helps model healthy habits to kids and keeps everyone motivated.  Be sure to allow your kids to choose the activities they like, otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting them motivated.

Try traditional outdoor activities like hiking, biking or swimming.  Don’t forget sunscreen and helmets!  Other ideas include playing at the park, playing with water balloons, having a catch, playing frisbee, jumping rope and hula hoops.  Make sure they are supervised and safe around streets and pools.  If your kids are staying indoors, try putting on some music and having a dance party.  Don’t forget that housework also gets everyone moving so have them clean out their rooms while they are a captive audience.

Reading

I always encourage kids to read for as much time as they are on their iPads or phones during the summer.  Start the summer with a trip to the library or bookstore to get them going.  Many kids will have reading assignments for school, but try to mix in reading for pleasure too.  It’s easy to find books about almost any topic kids are interested in these days; biographies, historical novels, graphic novels, young adult, fantasy and science fiction are just a few options.  Getting started on a series is also a good idea because it keeps kids interested and reading more.

Snacks

One thing that is an integral part of all summer time activities is snacks.  They are packed for the beach, a trip to the park or likely any other outing you have planned.  Kids need their snacks, and for vigorous activities it’s good to have healthy options to sustain them.  The flip side is when kids start mindlessly snacking while in front of their electronics, especially if they are snacking on less-than-healthy foods.  Try having fresh fruits and vegetables washed and cut up so they are readily available.  Pretzels, air popped popcorn and whole grain crackers are also good options.  Try portioning them out in small containers and keeping them in one designated area for easy reach and to limit excessive intake that can happen when eating out of a bag.  Deborah Strumm from Super Moms 360, recommends keeping snack containers in the fridge and the pantry.  She also has a great idea of mixing fruit with yogurt and freezing in a popsicle maker for a refreshing and healthy snack.

For more ideas, visit Super Moms 360.

 

Author: DrJaimeFriedman

I am a mom and pediatrician here to dispense timely and accurate information about the health and well being of children.
Please see my first blog post, which explains how I got started.

Remember, this is not a substitute for medical advice and is not a private platform.

Enjoy!

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