If you’re a parent, you have probably heard from your children’s teachers about the perils of the “summer slide”. The fear is that as a result of not being in the classroom for ~3 months, our children may “lose” a significant chunk of the skills they learned during the school year. This situation can lead many good moms and dads to purchase workbooks, explore academic camps and/or hire summer tutors as a way to stave off the dreaded slide. And all of these strategies are great for your child’s school career.
As a good parent, are you also thinking about your family’s fitness and overall wellness this summer? For many families, the start of summer means a significant change in routine. Kids of all ages may regularly stay up later and enjoy significantly more screen time. And, potentially, their summer activities may include just as much sitting time as a typical school day, but without recess or PE. And with family vacations and long days at the community pool planned, eating fast food over more healthy alternatives could be more common.
Don’t let your family fitness and wellness routines slide during the summer. Here are 4 ideas to avoid a fitness slide this summer.
Find creative ways to get your family moving
If it’s too hot to go outside or there are days filled with summer rain – try moving to some online dance, kickboxing or yoga videos streamed to your tablet or TV. Have a mid-afternoon dance party with a Hip Hop video dance class. Everyone will have so much fun moving to the music, they won’t even think of it as exercise! Or show off your ninja skills by putting on Kickboxing Basics. Even a beginner online yoga videocan be fun as a family when everyone tries to show how flexible they can be.
Cook more at home
Asking older children to help prepare healthy meals and snacks at home can be a great way to instill lifelong healthy eating habits in your kids. And when children take part in food preparation, they are far more likely to want to eat it!.
In general, meals cooked at home use less sugar and salt and portion sizes are appropriately sized — helping home chefs more easily achieve and maintain a healthy weight. And, cooking your guilty pleasure foods at home is a healthier way to indulge your cravings – so don’t deprive your family of those french fries, just make them at home!
Learn stress management skills
An important life lesson for children (and adults!) is that while you can’t avoid stress in life, you can control your reaction to it in order to reduce the harmful impact that the stress hormone, cortisol, has on your body. Becoming more mindful helps manage stress, improves relationships, increases resilience and leads to greater feelings of happiness and wellbeing. And isn’t that what every parent wants for their children?
Meditation is one way to help you and your children to develop mindfulness. And short, guided meditation videos — just 5-10 minutes — are activities you can do together with your kids. Imagine taking a few minutes together at the start or end of your day to sit quietly and foster gratitude or do a creative visualization or even just to relax before you fall asleep? Both you and your kids will feel better and you’ll be helping your child build a healthy lifelong habit of mindfulness.
Make your family vacation a wellness vacation
If you’re anything like me, it’s a pipe dream thinking you could get away to enjoy an actual wellness resort, like these in the SpaFinder 365. Nope, it’s far more likely my “vacation” is a visit with the grandparents on the Jersey Shore or simply a staycation in my own city. This is where technology can be a beautiful thing because all you need is a laptop, smartphone or tablet and you can create your own personal wellness resort vacation. Check out Oprah’s 5 Sites Your Gym Doesn’t Want You to Know About or Techlicous 6 Great Sites for At Home Workouts for the best places to find online video workouts.
And since it’s vacation, why not enjoy a longer workout — maybe a 60 minute online yoga video classversus a 15 or 20 minute core video workout that you struggle to work into your busy, non-vacation days!
Be sure to share this article with a friend or family member who also wants to keep their family fit this summer.