July 07, 2012

Most adults remember their childhood summers as a time when kids and families were active and outdoors, spending time swimming, reading, hiking, and taking family vacations. Maybe they remember eating healthy fruits like watermelon and vegetables like corn-on-the-cob. But for most Americans this reality is far from this picture.

As school doors close during the summer, many children face safety concerns, laziness, learning loss, risk for obesity, and food insecurity which set children back developmentally and academically.

The Y of Central Florida recognizes summer as an opportunity to develop the potential of our children. During Healthy Kids Day we encouraged parents and kids to TAKE ON SUMMER by committing to keeping the body and mind active this summer. That’s why the Y of Central Florida is implementing reading activities in our camps and providing summer activities to keep kids healthy.

Here are a few tips you can use to keep your kid’s mind and body active this summer.

 

Reading Tips for Keeping Minds Active

  • Create a calendar. Help your child feel in control of their summer vacation by laying out a calendar and ask them to fill it in with certain educational activities. For example, “When I get up in the morning, after breakfast, that’s when I’m going to start my reading for the day.”
  • Read together. Make sure your child picks the books that they want to read and take their time reading. If you are a working parent, take 15 minutes before bed and read a book together, especially if it is a more challenging book.
  • Every day. Encourage your child to read daily if it fits into your schedule. Offer incentives for reading. A good stretch to read is 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Consistency is key. The goal is to set a time of 20 minutes, but they say they want to keep going. You want them to become hooked to reading. As a parent, read a book while your child is reading to model consistency.

 

Tips for Keeping Bodies Active

  • Take a family class. The Y provides family classes so that families can get healthy together. Working out together can bring you closer and keep you motivated and encouraged.
  • Transform the family room. Sometimes family rooms are the center for laziness: a comfy couch, video games, and the television. Place subtle reminders that promote physical activity: resistance bands, dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a jump rope. These small reminders will get you moving in no time.
  • Make chores fun.One thing that sets summer apart for kids is the list of chores that parents leave during the day. Instead of delegating each member of the family to do separate chores, turn chores into a game you can all do together. Race to see how fast you can get the house cleaned.
  • Keep toys handy. Stashing balls, racquets, jump ropes, hula hoops and such in your garage can encourage your kids will find something to do.

 

Find programs at your Y that can keep your kids active mentally and physically.