Children Gain More Weight in the Summer - Tips to Keep Them Active

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro

    For many children, the summertime means extra time spent in front of the television or computer. In fact, studies have shown children tend to gain more weight in the summer months, because they are less active. 


    However, it doesn't have to be that way for your children.


    You can keep your kids just as active in the summer as they are during the busy school year. Granted, it will take some planning on your part, so here are 10 tips that will keep your kids active all summer long: 


    1. Limit TV and computer time

    This may not make you the most popular parent on the block, but it is necessary if you want your kids to stay healthy. You should limit them to two or three hours a day. The rest of the day should be spent in some kind of physical activity. 

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    2. Sign your kids up for camp

    This is one of the best ways to keep children active during the summer. There are many camps going on at this time of year, for example sports camps or church camps. It will keep them active, they will make new friends, and it will allow them to learn valuable skills they can use the rest of their lives. 


    3. Be an example

    This is where a lot of parents fall down. But, how can you expect your kids to stay healthy and active when they see you sitting in front of the TV a lot of the time? You have to lead by example. Limit yourself to just a few hours a day in front of the TV or computer, and if you don't exercise regularly, get out there and be active!


    4. Develop family activities

    Designate a specific day or days of the week for the entire family to get together for play time. This may be biking, hiking, swimming, or even going to an amusement park. To make it more fun, you can allow a different member of the family to pick the activity each time. This means everyone can enjoy their favorite activity. 


    5. Join the local pool or swim club

    Those hot days of summer can make going to the pool a refreshing treat. If you can, let your kids swim every day for maximum health benefit.


    6. Take day trips

    Why not get your children together and take a short day trip once a week. This may be a visit to a museum, or a trip to the nearest zoo. Not only will this keep your kids active, it will also be a wonderful learning experience for them.


    7. Garden together

    This is an activity where the whole family can take part. Learning how to plant and tend to a garden are valuable skills that can be used throughout life. Let your children choose what they want to plant, and perhaps divide the garden into specific areas, so each child has their own small garden. You could also run competitions and give awards for the best plants or flowers, or simply to reward their good efforts.


    8. Cook together

    Now that you have a thriving garden, get your kids into the kitchen and show them how to cook, using the fruits and vegetables from their very own garden. You may want to teach your kids how to preserve their fruit and vegetables by canning, teach them how to read recipes, and about healthy eating or menu planning. 


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    9. Stage a family sports competition

    Pick a day each week and make it competition day. You can call it your "Family Olympics." Divide the family into two teams and compete in things like table tennis, badminton, or golf, etc. You can award prizes for the winners, or make the losers cook dinner. This is a great way to get the entire family active and having fun together.


    10. Encourage them to take up organized sports

    If your children are athletic you could sign them up for softball, or other summer time sports. This is a great way to encourage them to be active, as they will have regular practices to attend, and games throughout the week. 


    What ways do you encourage your children to be active in the summer months?


    Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of Visit her website for more healthy eating ideas.


Published On: July 16, 2010