During the school year, students are busy with homework, extracurricular activities and sports, but during the summer, sometimes parents don’t realize how much free time their children have and it may become difficult to keep them active.
Dr. Nikita Williamson, a mother and pediatrician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, encourages her children to participate in swimming, bike riding or walking their dogs. Enrolling kids in sports camps is another option.
“I involve them in my outdoor chores, like gardening, car washing and lawn care,” says Dr. Williamson. “That way, they can make a little extra money, and it gets them out of the house and off the couch in front of the computer or video games.”
Medical experts also suggest avoiding sugary treats and stocking the kitchen with healthy breakfast options since kids maybe making their own breakfasts. Also, purchase 100-percent juice rather than juices made from concentrate.
Although summer offers time to enjoy the sun and be active outdoors, the weather does not always cooperate. Dr. Williamson says that when the weather isn’t great she has another way to keep her kids active, putting on music and having a dance-a-thon.
“It gets them sweating and their heart rate up,” she says. “You can play your videogames, but play the Wii and the ones that are exercise-orientated like the dance video games.”
By using game consoles and playing dance and sports games, kids sometimes don’t realize that they are actually exercising and staying active throughout the day, she says.