School is out for the summer, and many kids are already trying to figure out what to do with their free time. Though lounging around in front of the TV or computer seems to be a common pastime activity, recent studies show inactive kids experience unhealthy summer weight gain.
Finding ways to get your kids to be more active can be a challenge, but children will be open to a healthier lifestyle when the parents make it a family affair, according to Tracey Neely, Instructor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science at Augusta University.
“It takes the whole family working together to stay healthy,” Neely said. “When parents adjust diet and incorporate exercise in the family routine, both attitudes and bodies will become healthier.”
So, if you are looking for ways to help your family stay healthy this summer, Neely offers the following tips:
- Make a plan. Get the family involved on developing a meal plan. When you go to the grocery store, allow the children to help with the shopping and involve them in the food preparation.
- Walk it out. Set aside a few days out of the week for the family to engage in physical activity like walking the dog, playing hopscotch, jumping rope, or even kicking around a soccer ball.
- Put down the remote and step away from the TV. Limit your child’s television viewing to about two hours a day and then incorporate some type of physical activity during commercial breaks.
- Whistle while you work. Make chores fun by turning a few of them into games that the family can do together. For example, see how quickly you can clean the house, play music while you are doing laundry, or allow your children to dance and sing while they help fold clothes.