Keep kids active during summer

The lazy, hazy days of summer are coming!

The lazy, hazy days of summer are coming!

But while summer has great potential for relaxed family fun, it can actually be a time when some kids are less active and therefore less healthy.

One would think that summer would be better because they could be more active, but it’s usually the opposite.

They’re not on a set schedule so they can eat all the time. They’re not as active as you’d expect because it’s hot. So kids end up gaining weight.

No school, no homework and no routines equals a lot of downtime and more time for kids to eat whenever they want, which can result in extra pounds.

If your kids see you exercising and engaging in sports or other physical activities, they are likely to follow in your footsteps as well.

A parent’s lifestyle is a powerful stimulus for a child. You are a role model for your children; set a good example by making physical activity a priority in your life.

Parents could increase their kid’s activity levels by establishing some summer guidelines. By following some of these guidelines, your kids will develop an appreciation for activities that nourish their mind and bodies.

• Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up time.

• Limit TV time, including video games and computer time to one or two hours a day and stick to it! Along with this, consider curtailing the amount of time text messaging or chatting on the phone.

• Make physical activity a part of your kid’s daily schedule. Start with small activities such as getting up early and walking the dog or going for a walk together after dinner.

• Set aside family discussions where each child takes a turn coming up with an activity of the week such as going to the batting cages, bowling or playing miniature golf.

• Consider having a picnic in the park and hike through the woods, a roller-skating party or visiting a climbing wall or neighborhood jungle gym.

• Explore the bike trails with your children.

• Ask your child to help out with chores such as washing the car or mowing the lawn.

• Take a trip to the park with a Frisbee, football or a kite.

Positive Parenting appears every week in LIFE. This week’s column was written by the home visit staff with Family Services of Central Alberta. Call 403-343-6400 or www.fsca.ca.