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Top 3 Ways To Encourage Physical Activity In Your Child This Summer

When it comes to fostering healthy habits in children, parents — especially busy parents — understand just how hard it can be to keep kids entertained and physically active during the summer months. The summer months, however, are exactly when you must focus (or re-focus) your efforts on teaching your children healthy eating and physical activity habits, as these are the months that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children are most prone to inactivity and obesity.

Childhood obesity is considered an American epidemic and affects over 12 million children (1 in every 6 children). For obese children, there’s an increased risk of the following health problems:

  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Type 2 diabetes

Obese children are also at an increased risk of being bullied and, therefore, suffering from depression, but they’re also more likely to grow up to be an obese adult, which can increase their risk of suffering from a wider range of health problems associated with obesity.

While building healthy eating and physical habits, early on in childhood, is an ideal way to ensure your child grows up as healthy as possible, we understand just how hard it can be to keep children entertained and physically active during the summer months. All it takes, however, is a little planning and creativity. Here are three great ways to keep your child active throughout the summer break:

  1.    Enroll Kids In Summer Camp

Enrolling your child in summer camps or programs often exposes them to consistent physical activity throughout the summer. In fact, studies have found that day campers averaged 11,916 steps per day when at camp, while residential campers averaged about 19,699 per day (and these numbers actually exceed physical activity recommendations set by United States Health and Human Services). Additionally, summer camps introduce your child to a wide variety of activities that assist in providing the social and intellectual development your child needs.

  1.    Set An Example

As a parent, your child looks up to you and the example that you set. Partaking in physical activities together can aid in motivating your child to be active. Instead of instructing your child to go play outside in order to get some peace and quiet, try joining them instead. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing sports at the park, or going for a bike ride, engaging in physical activities together is physically beneficial for both you and your child.

  1.    Limit Screen Time

Technology can be an intriguing thing for children, as well as adults. Whether it’s an iPad, a television, or an Xbox, electronics have the ability to take up hours of your child’s day. With technology being in almost every aspect of our lives today, making your child choose to play outside over sitting in front of a screen can be challenging. If you are having trouble reducing screen time, here are a few tips:

  • Do not use screen time as a reward.
  • Try to limit your own screen time when you are in family settings (make it a rule that everyone puts down their phone or tablet during family time).
  • Create a screen-free bedroom for your child.
  • Do not resort to screen time when trying to occupy your child in the car.
  • Set time limits for screen-time.
  • Present other activities to your child.

The Time For Physical Activity Is Now

Keeping your child active during the summer requires effort and mindfulness. However, physical activity plays a vital role in your child’s health and development. Although the summer days are less structured, your child’s physical activity does not have to decline. Sign them up for that cool summer camp, go on that walk together, and get their eyes off the screens this summer — we promise, you’ll all love (and benefit from) it.

 

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