You likely look forward to it all year, and kids start counting down months in advance. What are we talking about? Summer break! While many families look forward to less chaotic schedules and a more relaxed way of life, it doesn’t take long to fall into some bad habits. In fact, experts say many children actually gain weight when they’re not in school. A recent study shows many kids struggle when it comes to eating a healthy diet during summer break. Healthy choices and routines can keep you and your family on track. Here are some tips to consider, according to WebMD to start following this summer.
Focus on Food
You can still pack a lunch for your kids, even when they’re not headed to school. It works great if they’re spending the day at camp. But they can also take it along on a hike or to the pool or park, instead of grabbing fast food or raiding the vending machines. Fill that brown bag with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, and skip sweetened drinks.
Find a New Routine
The school year comes with plenty of structure, and all that scheduling can help encourage healthy habits. Put a little rhythm into lazy summer days with activities that will keep them active. You can sign your child up for day camp, swim lessons, playgroups, storytime, or other activities. Check your local parks district and libraries for free or low-cost options. Or make your own plan for regular activities to cut down on boredom. A daily schedule could mean less screen time and less snacking (and maybe even less whining).
Be Serious About Bedtime
Without the early school-day alarm looming, getting kids to bed on time can seem less important. But a sleep routine still matters. Kids who sleep less have less energy to do the things that keep them healthy, like exercising. A tired brain is also more likely to make unhealthy choices, like zoning out on the couch with a bag of chips all day. So limit those up-all-night sleepovers and be firm about a set bedtime. To make it easier:
- Keep a regular dinnertime.
- Make sure your child gets fresh air and exercise during the day.
- Turn off screens an hour before bed.
Stick to Screen Time Limits
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation External, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun. To your kids, marathon sessions of TV or video games may seem to be a great way to pass a summer day. But extra time in front of a screen replaces other activities that are better for them, like playing outside or getting a good night’s sleep. It can also lead to unhealthy weight gain — the more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to gain extra pounds.
At Rochester Medical Group, we care about the health of your family! We are doing what we can to make healthcare a little easier for people with a busy schedule. Our physicians are quickly able to diagnose and treat common illnesses and minor injuries to help you get better, faster. We are here to meet the urgent medical care needs of Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, and the surrounding communities. Call us today at (248) 844-6000