When we think of summer, we typically think of children outside on playgrounds, playing sports and tag, and running around outside. However, a new study by the CDC suggests that kids are becoming less active during the summer months than during school. Furthermore, the same study found that kids are gaining more weight during the summer – a time when kids used to be the most active. It’s unclear as to why kids are gaining more weight at an alarming rate during the summer. However, some researchers suggest it’s due to lack of access to healthy food, safe and scheduled summer physical activities, and the rise in technology use by children.
Even though summer break may be related to weight gains in kids, there are ways to keep your kids safe and active during summer.
Organized Summer Physical Activities
Summer camps and formal sports teams may be expensive for those with little access. However, many community centers, schools, and churches organize summer physical activities and community sports teams that are inexpensive and keep your kids active. With volunteers that are knowledgeable about sports safety standards, your kids will also be able to play safely. It’s also recommended to allow your child to choose the activity that interests them so that they will be more involved.
Parks And Hiking
If you don’t have the time or financial resources for organized sports, playgrounds, and parks are most of the time free for your kids. Packing a picnic and spending all day out at a park or heading to a nature center for hiking will keep your kids busy and active during the summer. Allow your kids to explore nature and use their imagination when playing outside. Creativity is a huge drive for keeping children interested.
Lawn And Garden Work
Have your kids help with lawn and garden work, or help them start their own garden. Not only will they learn how to grow their own flowers or vegetables, but it’s a great summer physical activity. If you don’t have your own lawn, talk to a neighbor or friend who may need help. There are also many community gardens for those people who don’t have their own space.
Limit Screen Time
The jury is out on this and researchers have concluded that screen time is unhealthy for children. According to the National Institutes on Health, there are negative effects of screen time on children. Even having the TV on as background noise can cause a risk to children. Turning off the devices and television will aid greatly in combating weight gain.
Stay Safe During Summer Physical Activities
Don’t forget to think about safety during physical activities, especially with children. Be safe in the heat, hydrating properly and avoiding the peak sun hours during the day. Furthermore, take frequent breaks indoors to cool off and find shade as much as you can. Also, making sure to warm up, cool down and stretch is important – even if your child is simply heading to the playground.