Keeping Kids Healthy over the Long Summer Months
With school out, it’s easy to slip into vacation mode. The kids will probably want to sleep in, chase after ice cream trucks, and lounge around the house all day. After all, it’s summer! Letting them indulge every now and then is perfectly fine, but don’t let their indulgence become unhealthy. Encourage them to build healthy habits all summer long. Here are some tips from Revive Counseling Center.
Stock Up on Healthy Foods
It’s no secret that healthy eating is essential to your child’s growth and development. Eating a balanced diet leads to sharpened minds, higher energy levels, and healthy weights. Not only that, but everything we do, from what we eat and drink to how much we sleep, has a profound impact on mental health. Though it can be a challenge, encouraging healthy habits stabilizes moods, decreases the risk of depression and anxiety, and boosts confidence.
Depending on their age, each child has their own nutritional needs. However, as a general rule, their diet should consist primarily of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy. Check KidsHealth’s guide on what their plate should generally look like at every meal.
Summer is the time for ice cream by the pool and building s’mores over campfires. It’s also all too easy for your child to get bored at home and head straight for the snack cabinet. Telling them they can’t have chips or chocolate almost never seems to work and can even be counterproductive. Your best bet is to give them access to a wide variety of healthy alternatives. Keep plenty of fruits and veggies on hand. You can even try preparing some tasty hummus or tzatziki for them to dip it in.
For younger children who can get their own snacks but aren’t ready to use knives, pre-cut their healthy snacks and store them properly in an easily accessible spot. The less work they have to do, the more likely they are to eat it.
Get Your Kids Involved
One of the best ways to get kids to eat healthier is to have them help during meal prep. The more involved they are, the more likely they will be to eat what you make. This can be especially helpful for picky eaters. Have them help create the menu with you and bring them with you to the grocery store. For even more fun, consider swinging by the local farmer’s market and picking out the latest seasonal fruits and veggies together. Once you get home, make them your sous chef. They will likely be proud to help out and will be excited to eat what you made together.
While kids can make most homes chaotic, they can also contribute to yours becoming a healthy, peaceful, and happy one. Get them involved in “spring cleaning” your home over the summer. Aside from chores, they can help declutterby going through their belongings (like toys). You can even teach them a thing or two about sharing by donating toys and clothing they no longer need or use.
Have Fun Staying Active
Without school as a part of the routine, summer days can quickly become lazy days. Do not let your kid become a couch potato. Make sure you limit screen time; most experts recommend capping it off at two hours max a day. This applies to educational content, too.
Kids may also experience some stress and anxiety from being housebound for long periods, especially in the ongoing pandemic. Be mindful of this. Encourage them to get outside and have fun. Help them get involved in a fun and active hobby. Even better if you guys can do an activity together like ride bikes or take an evening walk with the whole family.
Though it can often feel like an uphill battle, sticking to healthy habits is well worth the reward. The lessons kids learn now will follow them into adulthood. Plus, when their physical and mental health is boosted, they will have a better summer. Make sure to get your kids the faith-based support they need. Book an appointment with Revive Counseling Center today.