During the long summer holidays children can often be guilty of slumping into a routine of staying up later than usual and getting a little lazy if they are not engaging in fun daily activities. Therefore, it’s key for parents to understand that although school holidays are important for children to have a little rest time, it’s equally vital to keep them healthy and active on a daily basis.
Work commitments coupled with financial restraints can have a negative impact – we really do get it! But that is why we must plan in advance to ensure our next generation are engaging in the right enjoyable activities during their downtime.
A lot of kids are spending more and more time in front of the screen — computers, tablets, phones, video games or TV seem to be more engaging than playing catch or hide and seek in the park nowadays. As a result, we as a nation must find ways of making physical activity just as engaging.
Kids will often complain about how hot it is during the summer which can prevent a child from wanting to go outside and play. Furthermore, boredom can also set in during their time off so we need to offer variety in the activities on offer to them.
Action-packed summer camps like ours are a great way to keep children active and having fun but equally, if you have the time, getting involved in the activities with your children can be a more financially viable alternative and whatsmore you might even enjoy it. Sign up to our Fitter Families Newsletter for lots of free tips on how to keep healthy and active as a family this summer.
Sitting for 8-10 hours, then going out for 30-60 minutes doesn’t undo those hours spent remaining sedentary, so my advice as a physical activity educator and parent, would be to spend as much time playing fun games with your children as possible so that it is embedded in their routine.
So, this begs the question as to what can we do as parents to ensure that our children remain engaged in physical activity during their downtime?
Commit to daily fun activities. Discuss with your kids how important it is to be active in the holidays and set some fun challenges to do, places to visit, targets etc. Then, reward them for their achieving their goals and yours. You do not require expensive equipment as going to a local park or playing a game of tag with friends and family is all that’s needed!
Healthier snacks. Try to have healthy snack options in the house and limit the number of sugary treats per day. Choose low-calorie snacks that are filling, like fruit, low-fat yogurt, and vegetables with light dressing or other healthy dips such as salsa or hummus. Limit the higher-calorie junk foods and encourage drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Screen breaks. Encourage your child to take frequent breaks from the screen — going for a quick walk, bike ride or play a sport for 20-30 minutes every few hours. Breaking up the activity is much easier than trying to do several hours at once. The recommended screen time limit is two hours per day. If it’s hot, find a cool water activity to do like water balloons, sprinklers, small pools or the local swimming pool.
Routine is key. Having the same sleep and meal routine is best. Waking and going to bed around the same time every night, having family meals together also promotes healthy eating habits. This will be key to making sure your family summer holidays are enjoyable and easier to manage.