With summer right around the corner, we’ve gotten a lot of questions from parents on how they can help get/keep their children healthy. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when answering this question, but hopefully these seven tips will give you some good insight on what you need to focus on!
It Starts With Sleep
With most lists, you’ll start with ‘A’ and work your way down. In this one, we’re going to start with the Zzzs. While scientists have yet to pin down why we sleep (That’s right, it’s 2018 and no one has an answer to why humans sleep – not doctors, not scientists. Nobody — there’s a fun fact to throw at your friends!), we do know what happens to us if we don’t get enough — spoiler alert: it’s not good!
Sleep is a vital part of our recovery process. Getting ample sleep has been proven to sharpen the mind, revitalize the body and have an extremely positive impact on our daily life.
During the summer, sleeping habits and schedules tend to get thrown out the window. In order to take full advantage of the summer, your kids need to get enough sleep each and every night!
Human beings are made primarily of water. And children actually have a higher percentage of water in their body composition than adults. Because of this, hydration is always an essential component of health for your child(ren). As temperatures rise and kids are (hopefully) increasing their activity levels, the focus on hydration should be heightened during the summer.
There are a lot of recommendations for how much water one should drink (I’m sure you’ve heard of the 8 cups of water rule), but a simple rule to follow is to drink no less than half your body weight in ounces of water per day (ex: if your child weighs 100 lbs, they should drink at least 50 oz. of water each day). The more active they are, the more they need to rehydrate!
(If you’re craving more precision, check this article out for an in-depth equation)
You Can’t Be Healthy All Day If You Don’t Start In The Morning
Healthy living starts in the morning with breakfast. In addition to kick-starting your body’s metabolism and providing much-needed fuel for your day, eating a healthy breakfast can also set the tone for the rest of your day’s choices. Starting off on the right foot with breakfast can carry over to other choices throughout the day – nutritionally and otherwise. Skipping breakfast should never be an option!
Bottom line: There’s a reason every parent who ever lived has uttered the words, “Breakfast is the most important part of the day.”
Vacations Are For Families – NOT Your Health
Summertime is one of the best times to take a family vacation! The kids are out of school, the weather is perfect for some time near the water or taking the family on a cross-country road trip. Who doesn’t want some R&R during the summer – it seems like the season was made for it!
Vacations are not for your health. Making smart eating decisions while on the road, making sure sleep schedules don’t get too off-kilter, and staying mindful of your child’s health is still important – even on vacation! Vacations should be a restful, peaceful time. If you don’t keep up with your good nutrition, hydration, and sleep schedule, you’ll need a vacation from your vacation when you get back!
We can’t emphasize this enough! The break from school is great, but a lot of kids will opt for sedentary living if given the choice. Hydration, sleep, and nutrition are only a few pieces of the puzzle. Getting (and keeping) your kids active throughout the summer will drastically improve their well-being. Improving physical fitness is a must for a healthy summer!
Some great options for keeping kids active this summer include trips to the pool, weekly or summer-long sports camps (we might know a good place…), going for family walks/bike rides, and setting up a neighborhood recreation day at the park. There are plenty of fun, helpful options that will keep your kids moving and in shape!
…Outside If Possible!
Most summer activities are outside – and that’s a good thing! In addition to getting fresh air and Vitamin D, spending time outdoors has been linked to getting a better night’s sleep as well as mental health and mood improvements by way of increases in seratonin levels.
You’ll likely read some articles warning you against spending too much time in the sun. This can be true – too much of a good thing can be bad. So long as you keep your skin healthy and take the proper precautions, the benefits far outweigh any negative consequences.
Make A Game Plan – And Make It Fun!
Perhaps the most crucial part of keeping your children healthy this summer is to plan ahead. Look into summer camp options now and get signed up! Put yourself (and your kids) in a better position for your vacations – pack healthy snacks, look for fun stops on long road trips where you can go for a hike, research different restaurants and other fun activities while you’re out and about.
Your plan of attack for your child’s health can be borrowed from other parenting hacks. For instance, have you ever used an incentive plan for a summer reading program? Do the same for their health! Here are some ideas you can implement this summer:
- Daily Hydration Checklist
- Weekly Sleep Charts
- Nutritional Goals (via My Fitness Pal or some other similar tracking app)
- Daily Exercise Goals
- Track Outdoor Time vs. Screen Time
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” — Don’t plan to fail this summer!
Questions on the article? Want more ideas? Reach out to the team at Dynamic Sports Training!