10 Tips for Keeping Kids Active this Summer
1. Set an example for the appropriate use of electronic devices. Turn off gadgets or TV while having a family meal, do not use devices during family activity time, etc.
2. Have a family meeting to decide together what the right mix of time is for your family on electronic devices versus swimming and other outdoor activities. The key is setting goals as a family and making kids part of the decision-making process. Consider planning an electronics-free day or schedule family time outside every week.
3. Discuss with your children the health consequences of spending too much time on electronic devices at the expense of more physical pursuits, such as swimming. If children know that sedentary activities have real health impacts, they may be more motivated to get moving.
4. Ask your children if they would swim more if you made a commitment to get them to a pool on a regular basis. You may be surprised at how readily your children will unplug if given the chance to swim.
5. Locate the municipal or community pool in your area, find out the hours of operation and build in time to get there with your children.
6. Consider playing games with your kids outside, such as diving for plastic rings in the pool or playing tag, rather than passively watching them. Encourage them to have fun but strictly enforce safety rules at all times.
7. Be sure each child has appropriate equipment for any outdoor activity, such as sneakers, a pair of goggles, and a swimsuit or running clothes that fit them comfortably. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly. If a child gets sunburned or doesn’t have clothes that fit, he or she may not think of being outside as enjoyable.
8. Share a summer-themed movie that promotes outdoor recreation, camp activities or sports in general, if your family decides to have a movie night during the week. This may motivate and inspire your kids to get outside.
9. Consider swimming lessons for family members who are not swimmers. Swimming is a gateway skill to a whole host of other summer activities including sailing, water skiing, canoeing, fishing or just having fun in the water. Without the comfort of being able to swim, other activities on the water may be less appealing or available to them.
10. Encourage your children’s active interests and consider talking to them about joining a sports club or team at school. That activity may become a lifelong passion!