By Angie Ketcham
Time to let the summer fun begin! But before everyone is ready to jump in to summer activities, here are 3 things to keep everyone in the house sane and happy. Before you know it, we'll be packing away those swim suits and heading off to another year of school, so let's make some happy memories along the way!
1. Keep a routine
Kids look forward to the summer to take a break from the structure and routine of the school year. Although it's nice to do this for a week or so, keeping a routine in the house will help keep everyone sane. Whether your child wants to admit it or not, they thrive on routine and predictable days. Sleeping in is nice, but doing this too often makes it set the day up for more sleeping and inactivity. Kids need to keep their brains active and getting out of bed each morning will help motivate them to be more active. Keep your children in the habit of personal grooming each morning. Encourage healthy eating to start their day. Be creative in keeping them busy throughout the day, keeping meals and activities fairly consistent throughout the week. I'll share more ideas on keeping a routine in next week's Friday post.
2. Eat Healthy
Nows as good of time as any to begin healthy eating patterns for your family. When you are filling your child with less sugar and more nutrition, they will feel better, blood sugars will be more leveled, and you will see a more focused, less whiny, better behaved child all around. Although getting your child to eat healthy doesn't always happen overnight, there are some things you can do to make healthy foods more accessible.
*Become informed. Learn to read Nutrition labels and learn how fats, carbs, proteins, and other things affect the body. Learn what amounts are appropriate for your age child and know how much is healthy eating for your child.
*Make a plan. Sit down with your family and talk about things they like to eat or meals they would like to see made. Write it down and make it available so that everyone will know what to expect and can even be a part in the meal preparations. When planning a menu, evaluate the foods you eat and make sure you have foods from each food group available.
* Prepare snacks in advance. At the beginning of each week, prepare foods that will make it easier to grab and go while kids are home during the day. Cut up vegetables and have them split into snack bags for easy snacking. Cut up cheese slices and separate lunch meats into small bags so those can be quickly retrieved for a snack attack. In coming Friday posts I will share more examples of easy snacks to keep the family healthy and happy on those long summer days.
3. Stay Active
It is essential to your child's health to be active. An inactive child is prone to depression and atrophy of the mind and body. Sitting and playing video games all day does not provide exercise and stimulation that their brains and body need. Send them outside to move! Make it a family affair, if possible. Create a contest or task that they have to complete to earn time on electronics. Sign them up for local sports camps or buy a pool pass and let them burn energy at the pool. Make this a regular part of your daily routine and see to it that it is done before the electronics or "sitting" time is allowed. In coming Friday posts we will share more about the effects of exercise on the body and activities your children can do to stay active, healthy, and less stressed. It's a win, win for everyone involved.
So what are you waiting for? This is going to be a summer to remember! I pray safety and protection over each of you. Let's make some memories.