Now that the school year is over, you may have noticed something missing. During the school year, it’s common to run into all sorts of health concerns, and the structure of the day to day life can help you and your family stay on top of regular check-ups. Without the school year to guide you, it can be tough to determine where your healthcare focus should be. After all, your kids have been looking forward to it all year. Now that summer break is here, it is more important than ever to know how to keep your family healthy so you can enjoy these cherished months worry-free.
Summer Break Structure
It’s not uncommon for things like bedtimes, mealtime, and household rules to relax during summer vacation. Unfortunately, as fun and relaxing as it can be for both you and them, this isn’t always the best approach to being healthy over the summer. This is especially true when you consider that breaking habits for the long summer months can make it harder or impossible for children to get back into patterns of good behavior once the summer months end. Studies have shown that children gain weight easier over the summer months, and they are more likely to become obese over summer break.
Make Good Dietary Choices
This is the big one over the summer. You can still make lunch for your kids even if they aren’t taking it to school with them. Having a meal available for the day, or teaching them to prepare their own, ensures that they don’t rely on snacking or grazing on unhealthy foods that are more easily available. If they have readily available meals throughout the day, they are less likely to consume unhealthy foods and beverages.
Even if you don’t prepare lunches, simply making a few changes around the house can have a huge impact. This may mean making better dietary decisions for yourself, too. If it’s not in the fridge, how can they get a soda? Stock it with healthy choices, so if they do decide to graze or raid the kitchen during the day, all they’ll find are healthy options. Limiting the availability of food can be important, too. Even though fruit and vegetable juices are healthier, they can still be rich in sugars that pack on the pounds. This is true of fruits, too – There is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing.
Use all the extra downtime to get your kids involved more than they are during the school year. Consider planting a family garden so they can enjoy the benefits of healthy, locally sourced food while also learning and developing good habits that they can carry with them into the next school year and into life beyond. Children who learn how to grow, prepare, and cook their own healthy foods are shown to eat healthier in general, even well into adulthood.
Stick to the Plan
Even during the summer months, it’s important not to let sleep and health routines slip away from you and your family. Make sure they get to bed at a regular time and rise with the sun so they can enjoy the benefits of natural vitamin D their bodies will produce and have better opportunities for exercise and healthy socialization. Schedule the same regular check-ups you would during the school year, and consider summer activities they may enjoy, such as summer camp or a local sports league. Ask what interests them, and make a summer experience out of it. Be sure to limit screen time, too! If you don’t raise your kids, the TV and internet will, and these are full of bad decisions. By getting involved and setting your children up to make good decisions, you can be confident they’re growing well.