School is officially out and three months of fun are here! Summers filled with endless relaxation and playtime are what children look forward to the most each year. However, it is important to keep in mind that safety is key, and practicing healthy habits are important for a child’s health. Keep the fun going while teaching kids healthy habits that will keep them safe all summer long!
Beat The Heat and Sun
Apply sunblock with at least SPF 30 and wear lightweight, light colored clothing. Outdoor activities are great, but it is best to schedule them in the early hours of the morning or later in the afternoon. Try to avoid extended exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm as UV rays are the strongest at that time.
Make sure children are drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water a day & don’t forget, just like eating healthy, children should be choosing healthy drink options as well. Providing healthy options in easy reach for children will encourage healthy habits. There is nothing wrong with a treat every now and then, but try to keep the extra sugary drinks limited and focus on healthier options.
Schedule Your Check-ups and Vaccintations
Schedule routine preventative services such as check-ups, dental, and eye exams for the summer months while school is out. Most schools require their students to have these check-ups and to receive their vaccination records before the start of school. Schedule them in advance to avoid the hectic last minute rush.
Keep Mosquitos and Ticks Away
Prevent insect bites and diseases, such as the West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, which can be transmitted through insect bites by using the proper repellents and sprays. See which repellents are the most recommended here.
Keep children from playing in tall grasses, heavily leafed or wooded areas to avoid ticks. When they come inside, check them for ticks. If you do find a tick, be sure to properly remove it. Tick removal is easier than you think.
Be aware of what children are doing throughout the day to make sure they are staying safe and out of trouble. It is also important to monitor what kids are watching on television or accessing online.
Shut off the TV, put down the electronic devices, and encourage kids and teens to be active for at least 60 minutes a day! Physical activities should increase heart rate and improve muscle strength. There are plenty of fun and safe indoor and outdoor activities for kids to enjoy during the summer months. Playgrounds, sports fields, and neighborhood public swim clubs are great places to get kids moving without even realizing it!
Provide Healthy Meals & Snacks
Unhealthy temptations are all around us during the summer months. Providing the right nutrients for children will keep them healthy and in good shape. It is important to pay attention to what, how much, and how often children are eating. Eating too much or too little can cause weight gain, loss or a nutrient deficit. Fruit and vegetables make awesome snacks! Bagged grapes or carrot sticks are great for the pool and on the go. Make sure kids are getting the right balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables with each meal as well. Check out the American Heart Association's Fruit & Veggie Toolkit for Kids for some great pointers on eating healthy!
Protect Children and Avoid Injuires
Wear helmets when riding a bike and other protective gear as appropriate. Be sure to keep dangerous substances and objects out of children's reach, especially when no one is home. Make sure there is an adult supervising children, and when needed, enough support for large groups of children.
Master Water Safety
Water related activities are a great way of adding some physical activity to the day, but take caution while enjoying splashing around. Always supervise children when in or around water. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), drownings are the leading cause of injury and death for young children between the ages 1 to 4. Teach your kids to how to swim or sign them up for formal swimming lessons. This not only protects them, but it teaches them a great way to stay physically active!
Keep a Set Schedule
During the summer months, it's easy for children to develop crazy sleep schedules. Try to make sure to keep structure in your child’s routine during the summer. Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children between the ages of 5-12, and 7-8 hours for adults. Sleep plays a vital role in the overall health! Sticking to a routine will keep children on track and make the transition back to school a lot easier in the Fall.