Don’t let this be the summer your child wears out the wireless controller on his game console. If the last time your child got her heart rate up during summer vacation was when she was chasing down the ice cream truck, it’s time to re-examine your family’s fitness habits. Summer is the perfect season to introduce healthy fitness habits. Fitness isn’t limited to physical exercise, it includes mental exercises and eating healthy every day. No matter the age, it’s never too soon to practice healthy habits.
1. Let’s get physical
“As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time running and playing,” warned the National Institute of Health. “Parents should limit TV, video game and computer time. Parents can set a good example by being active themselves.”
Exercising together can be fun for everyone. Competitive sports can help kids stay fit along with dancing, bowling, and yoga. There are a variety of ways for kids to get exercise. If your child is missing the bells, beeps, and whistles a video game provides, there are devices that can add fun to common exercise. For example, The SOCKIT is an electronic band that easily attaches to your child’s soccer cleat. When your child kicks correctly, the band lights up.
“Along with encouraging kids to get outside and have fun being active, the SOCKIT directs your child to proper kicking techniques. When you can combine exercise with an improved form–that’s a win-win situation,” said SOCKIT inventor, Joe Brigianti.
2. You are what you eat
Truthfully, the need for healthy eating is not breaking news for parents. They know their children need to eat a balanced diet. But knowing what will be healthy for their children, and finding something children are willing to eat are often two different things. One way to move the odds in your favor is a family field trip to a farmers market. Kids will enjoy the sights and smells of the variety of local foods and produce piled in every booth.
“Let your kids pick the best-looking produce. Tell them what you need, and one at a time, let them examine the fruits and veggies and make their selections, suggested contributor Sarah W Caron. “It may make your trip take a little bit longer, but it’s a great way to teach the kiddos how to make a good pick.”
3. Brain Fitness
School may be out, but that doesn’t mean your child’s brain should check out until fall. The Summer months are filled with classes, camps, workshops, daily activities, concerts, and city trips that provide a huge assortment of new experiences that provide unique learning opportunities.
Why not learn more about your home town? Urban Adventure Quest has designed an interactive scavenger hunt where teams use their smartphones to follow clues and challenges that take them to hidden features and locations within a few blocks; much like an Amazing Race experience.
“We have 43 different Quests across the country,” said Christie Walker, owner of Urban Adventure Quest. “And more locations are being added all of the time.”
If you are still looking for ideas, many websites sponsored by the city, a local library, and the newspaper all offer schedules for local events happening all throughout the summer in your area. Participating in practical experiences are wonderful ways to learn and help develop your child’s interests.
Summer vacation doesn’t have to be a vacation from personal fitness. By making exercise, nutrition, and learning activities a priority, your child will have a happy and healthy summer, and will develop habits that will last long after summer has ended.
A version of this article was published on the Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.