Summer is synonymous with long days, new friendships and fun experiences that last a lifetime. Kids are excited to get a long break from school work, relax on the couch and just veg out.
This is also an important time for parents to be aware and understand that while summer should be a relaxing break for kids, it shouldn’t be time where laziness and video games get top priority.
When planned correctly, summers are a great time for kids to recharge their batteries and be active.
Here are a couple of tips and suggestions to keep your family out and moving this summer:
Set a time limit
If you start to notice your children are spending too much time indoors, set a time limit. Explain that while it’s important to rest, it’s also important to play.
Come up with a specific amount of time that is acceptable for indoor activities. It could be 30 minutes a night for TV watching or an hour for a new video game. Make sure both you and the child understand that when this time is up, the TV is shut off or the game is put away.
By knowing the time limits, children are less likely to get upset when it’s time to stop. Giving a 10-minute warning will also help ease the transition process.
On the flip side, you can also set aside a certain amount of outside time. By having both options, even the most inside-loving kids can see that it’s balanced and fair.
The Walla Walla Valley is a beautiful place, full of wonderful hiking and camping sites. This summer, take the whole family on a hiking/camping trip.
If you have little ones who are still in a stroller and might not make it a full day, there are many trails around Bennington Lake near Walla Walla that offer a scenic stroll.
If you have older kids who can do day hikes, Harris Park near Milton-Freewater is a beautiful hike with a lot of greenery and trail that runs along the south fork of the Walla Walla River.
If your family is able to stay out a couple of days, Palouse Falls near Starbuck is the perfect place to hike, camp and stay physically active.
Get your game on
Most towns have a parks and rec program that offers sports camps during the summer. If your children are interested in brushing up their skills, this would be a perfect way to keep them outside and learning about things that they love.
Also, enrolling your child in a summer day camp can be the perfect way for them to have the opportunity to learn new sports, meet new friends and be more physically active. The more children love what they are doing, the less it will seem like exercise to them.
If you love the idea of signing your child up for a camp but don’t have the funds for it, try doing it yourself.
Having the time or energy at the end of the day may seem extremely unrealistic for working parents, but the biggest thing is to set up realistic goals.
Practice soccer every other night for 45 minutes or give your child an assignment to research while you’re at work, like how to execute the step-over move, and then work on it together when you get home.
Thinking outside the box is incredibly fun as well. Invite another family over and play a game of human checkers where kids have to leap-frog over each other.
Exposing children to a physically active lifestyle at an early age can benefit them tremendously the rest of their lives. Ensure the everyone remains hydrated and slather on the sunscreen generously while you are creating these new memories. And remember, the most important thing is to have fun this summer.
Leslie Tunmore is an AmeriCorps volunteer health and fitness advocate for the Walla Walla YMCA.