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7 Ways to Maximize After-School Time with Your Kids

Youth is a prime time to instill many healthy habits into your kids that they will carry with them as they grow into adults. Here are some suggestions for making the most of precious after-school time with your kids.
If you have kids who are old enough to be in school, you've probably become all too aware that spending quality time with them is becoming a rare, fleeting experience. Between shuttling them to school, their after-school activities and visits with friends, you and your kids are probably always on the go together, but you might feel like you're not getting a chance to really “see” them much. However, after school and dinner time is one moment that many families try to make the most of with their kids. Here are some suggestions about ways you can all enjoy your time together and in a healthy way.
1. Make healthy after-school snacks.
Instead of your kids charging into the kitchen and grabbing a bag of potato chips or their beloved cookies, try nudging them toward a healthy snack instead. Try setting out a plate of sliced apples with peanut or almond butter and topped with granola, or try some homemade hummus and pita chips for a salty treat. When your kids see that healthy, yummy-looking snack choices are readily available and within their reach, they're less likely to dig through the pantry in search of that elusive box of cookies.
2. Encourage them to take up a physically active hobby.
It's a well-known fact that active kids are more likely to be healthier than those who are sedentary, but there are also other benefits. Instead of always parking themselves in front of the couch to watch their favorite cartoon, try encouraging them to try out a physically active hobby where they can get their hearts pumping and enjoy fresh air, both of which contribute health benefits. Suggest they call up their friends to shoot some hoops in the cul-de-sac and get in some quality social interaction, or even join in on the activities yourself. Try taking a walk with your kids or going on a family bike ride; if your kids are young, they're more likely to be ok with this, whereas older ones will probably be embarrassed to be seen with you. In that case, push them to get active with friends or even by themselves.
3. Have an end-of-the day chat.
Talking with your kids about their day not only shows them you're interested in their lives, but it is also a prime opportunity to build up their self-esteem and spend quality time. Your kids might be a little wary about divulging too much, but when you can get information out, make sure you let them know you're proud of the healthy choices they're making and the way they're growing up.
4. Make dinner a fun, family activity.
Instead of making dinner on your own while the kids play in their rooms, try to get them involved. This can show them making a healthy meal can be fun and a great way to spend time together. If you're making a salad or other meal that requires manual assembly, try to get your kids involved in putting it together. Slice up all of the vegetables and other ingredients yourself, then get your kids to toss the lettuce and other items together. Place it onto a pretty dish so your kids can see they accomplished something great by making their own healthy meal.
5. Give them their multivitamins.
When your kids are young and growing, it's critical to ensure that they receive all of the nutrients their little bodies need to grow strong and healthy. Many kids are picky eaters, so it can be difficult to persuade them that their bodies need the fiber found in broccoli or the vitamin A in carrots, for example. Giving your kids a multivitamin can be a fun way for them to enjoy boosting their health. Many children's multivitamins come in a fun and tasty gummy form, making vitamin time a treat. When your kids understand the importance of maintaining their health and the nutrients that go into their bodies, it will make them more apt to listen to and cooperate with your recommendations about taking vitamins.
6. Remind them of their individuality.
In school, your kids are surrounded by their peers and at this point they start to notice their similarities and differences. School is the place where kids start to wonder where they fit in, with what group of kids, and where they start to question themselves. It's critical for your kids to be reminded of their individuality and for them to know that there is no one exactly the same as them. Maintaining a sense of individual identity is important in having your kids know that they're needed somewhere and that no one else can replace them. However, it's also important to stress that, though they are indeed individuals, there are other individuals who are similar to them—making them feel more comfortable in school and like there is a place where they can be themselves with others and feel like they “fit in.”
7. Read together.
In the age of video games and iPhones, it's easy to see that reading is a dying hobby. However, encouraging your kids to pick up a book—or reading to them if they're too young—is a great way to stimulate their brains and encourage healthy cognitive function. Reading causes your kids to concentrate on something and helps activate their young brains, prepping them for a life full of learning.
When your kids are young and growing it's necessary to instill in them positive, healthy habits and routines while cultivating close relationships and self-esteem. It's critical to stress the importance of taking care of both their bodies and minds so they can grow into healthy, confident and self-sufficient individuals. Spending after-school time with your kids and helping them to maximize their time with concern for their health and overall wellbeing can be a defining moment for all of you.
Check out our selection of healthy living products at eVitamins today, and enjoy your day!
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