Summer sun and fun can create a lot of buzz and excitement. But for many, summer can often be a letdown. During the rest of the year, kids are on a structured routine. They have access to a plethora of activities and extra-curriculars. Not to mention they see their peers and friends on almost a daily basis. Once school lets out, that all changes. The days and nights are long. Kids find themselves moving less and eating more (especially more junk food). These changes can have a serious effect on your kids. Summer is a great time to re-establish and create new healthy habits. Which is why today we want to check in on your summer rundown to keep kids healthy.
School Isn’t Necessarily Out for the Summer
Just because your kids aren’t in a classroom setting doesn’t mean learning for the summer is over. The brain, in general, is a complex and dynamic organ. And your kids’ brains are like a grand central station of mental activity. But during the summer, fewer “thought trains” come through that station. This decreases their excitement, engagement, and even their enjoyment. This is why academic challenges are just as important as physical exertion during the summer months.
Keep your kids challenged this summer by having them engage in reading, playing word games, and puzzles. Or even make a day of learning and travel to the Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museums, the Heinz History Center, or even the brand-new Museum Lab. Utilize incentives if you need to, but hopefully, you can find some brain-challenging activities your kids actually enjoy doing (did someone say, “Escape Room”?).
Some other ideas to engage the brain and avoid boredom include:
- Collect stones and paint them.
- Pick up an arrangement of leaves and petals and press them for laminated bookmarks.
- Write a story in a self-created book.
- Children can scavenger hunt their own homes for materials to re-purpose and create something new. It’s amazing what can be done with paper towels rolls or pool noodles!
Get Moving and Stay Active
Kids thrive when they feel engaged. One of the best ways to help them do that is through physical activity and moving their body. Did you know that engaging in moderate exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, has been shown to improve self-esteem, reduce stress, increase energy levels and improve sleep? There is a reason why many with depression seem to find relief through a consistent exercise routine.
With school friends at camp or on vacation plus extra junk food, it’s vital for children to engage in activities that aren’t just playing Minecraft all day. Some ideas to get (and stay) moving include:
- Taking family walks or going on a hike
- Riding bikes, roller skating, or riding scooters
- Learning a new sport
- Going to an outdoor ropes/climbing course
- Running around a yard full of sprinklers
- Creating an obstacle course
The Season for Fresh Food
Your kids may think otherwise, but Doritos, gummy snacks, and ice cream are not dietary staples. Along with mental and physical activity, the path to a happy and healthy summer is paved with good nutrition. If you’re not sure where to start, just giving your kids choices and the power to make decisions can help them get the vitamins and minerals they need. Give them choices in what fruits they want for a snack or what kind of veggies they want for dinner. And when kids get to actually help prepare food, they are more likely to eat those healthier options.
A great way to help your kids engage with fresh produce is by taking them to farmers markets or getting them involved grocery shopping. Have them pick out new fruits and veggies for the family to try. And don’t be afraid to make healthier versions of their go-to favorites.
A few fun summer food ideas include:
- Fruit kebabs—skewer kid-chosen fruit on a stick with cubed cheese and pretzels for some fun crunch.
- Frozen shaped yogurt—pick up a flexible fun-shaped mold at a garage sale or online and freeze your kiddo’s favorite brand of yogurt. Pair it with some blueberries or strawberries for some brain food—presto!
- Cookie-cutter sandwich—use whole grain bread, a protein, a veggie, and some cheese with a fun-shaped cookie cutter to press out a healthy summer sandwich.
Keeping Kids Healthy with Zock Chiropractic
There are a number of ways to help keep your kids healthy this summer. Even just making small changes – like walking more or doing a mental puzzle every evening – could be what your kids need.
Part of achieving our best physical and emotional health is through chiropractic care and massage therapy. Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Dr. Zock would love to discuss your concerns in regard to resetting your health. Her vast knowledge of natural supplementation and body processes make her a great guide in helping you make the best choices for your body. Make an appointment in Cranberry today to schedule an introductory chiropractic treatment session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.