By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain
Although your children are likely very excited for these homework-free months, parents often see this time as daunting. How can you ensure your children are staying healthy during this vacation time? With a whole summer ahead of you, it can be useful to plan healthy activities now to ensure your children stay active, safe and entertained throughout the summer. Here are four great ways to keep your kids healthy this summer.
Tip #1: Find fun ways to incorporate exercise into daily life. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be physically active for 60 minutes each day. Promoting activities in a fun manner can help keep children on the go and promote lifelong habits that encourage health and fitness. Some fun ways to exercise this summer include bike riding, swimming at the local pool or even cooling down by running around in the sprinkler.
Tip #2: Sign your kids up for a local summer camp. Several local organizations put on camps during the summer with a variety of activities such as arts, sports, science or technology. Summer camp can help promote physical, mental and cognitive skills as children are in a new environment and make friends while pursuing their passions. Many summer camps require physicals, so make sure to plan ahead and call your family physician to schedule an appointment.
Tip #3: Encourage healthy eating. With summertime comes many delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, watermelons, and cucumbers. It is recommended that children have one to two cups of both fruits and vegetables a day. Teach your kids more about healthy eating by visiting the local farmers market or planting a fruit and vegetable garden in your backyard. These firsthand experiences can teach your children how they can take charge of their diet by choosing healthy snacks.
Tip #4: Promote active minds. While school is out, it is beneficial for kids to keep their minds churning and learning new skills. Most communities have a variety of events that promote educational development during the summer. Visit your local library for a summer reading list competition or take a trip to your local science museum’s children exhibits.
Don’t let planning healthy summer activities intimidate you. There are a variety of easy ways to keep your kids active this summer, while also making sure they are enjoying themselves. If you need more ways to keep your kids healthy this summer, reach out to your family physician for more ideas.
Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.