June 23, 2017 // WorkLife Wisdom: Keeping Children Active During the Summer
If you have school-age children, research indicates that the end of the school year signals the beginning of three months to stare uninterruptedly at phone screens and video games — with only their thumbs getting regular exercise. If you’re worried about such an endless summer of inertia, here are some ideas on how to keep kids active and healthy, rather than sedentary this summer.
- Place limits on screen time. Without structure, children can easily spend the entire day in front of phones, games, TV, and movies (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time per day). Consider establishing specific screen-free times during the day that 1) conform to your preferred limits on children’s use of electronics, and 2) require them to do something active instead.
- Enable access to the accessories of activity. Make sure you have a handy supply of balls, bats, discs, jump ropes, racquets, nets, and other accessories so that playing outside is convenient. Also, keep everyone’s bike in working order.
- Share family fun. One great way to ensure that children are getting adequate summer exercise is to do it with them. Go on bike rides, head to the pool, play catch, badminton, or other outdoor games at a nearby park, shoot some hoops, or take the dog for a walk as a family.
- Check out recreational programs. Many community organizations and institutions offer summer day camps that keep children active for little or no cost. Some offer both daytime and overnight options, focusing on acquainting children with nature through outdoor activities, sports, and team building.
- Start some martial arts. Signing up children for martial arts classes (e.g., karate, jiu jitsu, judo, taekwondo, etc.) can help build their strength, coordination, agility, and confidence.
- Promote constructive activities. Encourage children to learn new life skills such as building things (e.g., bird feeders, forts or go-karts), providing neighborhood-babysitting services, or, as age-appropriate, volunteering at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, or at younger kids’ camp.
- Remember exercise for the brain. Encourage children to get both physical and mental exercise every day of the summer. Have them spend a certain amount of time reading each day, and ask them to summarize their reading for you later. This is a good way to keep their brains and imaginations keen, expand their vocabulary, and keep them in shape for the next school year’s studies.
Accessible 24/7, your FAA WorkLife Solutions Program offers many resources and services to help you and your family. Options available through the program include concierge services to help with everyday events needing your time and attention, child and elder care options, legal and financial services, in-person counseling, and much more. Call your program at 800-234-1327, TTY Users: 800-456-4006, or log on to www.MagellanHealth.com/Member to begin accessing these services today.