When school ends for the year, most kids look forward to sleeping in, lounging in front of the television and passing on school-provided meals. However, three months of loafing around and eating junk food can take their toll.
Here are some suggestions to help your child have a healthy summer that's still fun:
1. Get them cooking.
Bring your kids into the kitchen and let them help you prep and cook your meals. They'll feel a sense of responsibility for what they're eating and get excited to see -- and taste -- what they created. The extra sets of hands couldn't hurt, either.
2. Set a new schedule.
While it's OK to let them get some extra ZZZZs this summer (sleep is essential for the immune system), maintaining a schedule will help them stay productive and well. Have everybody out of bed and the same time and don't skip breakfast.
3. Take them shopping.
The next time you go grocery shopping, bring the kids along with you to teach them about shopping for healthy foods. Explain to them how to identify fresh, ripe produce and pick lean proteins. Get them in the habit of getting their food from the perimeter of the store.
4. Make exercise a family affair.
Keep the whole family active this summer by riding bikes, taking a nightly walk or playing a sport. Do something daily to get everyone moving instead of spending all day in front of the computer or television. It's also a great way to reduce stress.
5. Keep their mind sharp with games.
While your child won't forget everything they learned all year with some time off, it's still important to exercise a developing mind during the summer. Puzzles and games that test their memory and recognition are wonderful tools. If you're feeling extra ambitious, try introducing a new language.
6. Do a major cleaning.
The summer brings allergies, so have your child either help you (if they're too young) or facilitate their own thorough cleaning of their room and belongings. Get rid of germs that have collected on school gear and clear out clutter for a fresh start.
7. Get them outside.
According to CBC News, recent research shows children who aren't getting out into nature regularly are more at risk for mood disorders, like depression. We also know a lack of sun exposure can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Being outside is part of summer -- just don't forget the sunblock.
8. Limit technology time.
Don't let them spend all day straining their eyes in front of a screen. Make sure the whole family unplugs for a while every day to spend time together, exercise and get outside. Bedtime should also be technology-free time so they get they're rest.
9. Encourage a balanced diet.
Summer is a time for parties, barbecues and sleepovers which can mean a lot of junk food. Make sure your little one is eating plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables as well as protein and healthy fats. Try to limit consumption of processed and fast foods.
10. Make water the main drink.
Being outside in the heat and being more physically active can lead to dehydration. Make sure to encourage your kids to reach for water instead of sugar-filled soda and sports drinks. Make your own flavored waters with fresh fruit and herbs if they want something different.
11. Create your own frozen treats.
Store-bought popsicles can be full of sugar, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Make your own by throwing fresh fruit into the blender. Add herbs and create your own delicious combinations. Freeze them in an ice cube tray or popsicle molds to have them ready.
12. Have them take a multivitamin.
A multivitamin can help balance out the diet of a picky eater for proper growth and development. Keep them on the same supplement regimen they followed during the school year so they keep the habit.
13. Schedule their checkups.
Summer is a great time to schedule visits to the doctor and dentist because you don't have to worry about pulling your child out of school. Make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations and checkups to keep them feeling their best.
14. Look for learning opportunities.
Vary your summer activities to encourage continued learning during the months off from school. Take your kids to a museum, tour a historical building or visit the zoo -- anything that encourages them to ask questions and explore.
15. Lead by example.
All of the above points can be practiced by adults, so make them household changes. You'll sleep better, have less stress and manage your weight more easily. Your kids also mimic what you do.
You can find everything you need to keep your kids healthy and happy, no matter their age, at eVitamins Canada. Shop today and be ready for summer!