Warm weather, picnics, long days…ahhh, summertime is upon us!
Summer is a time when some kids are super active (and super hungry) but for many kids, the lack of structure that school provides results in more TV and computer time. Often, that screen time comes with increased mindless snacking. As parents, our vigilance in limiting screen time often lapses when our kids have so much unfilled time—especially when they are past the age of needing daycare.
What can we do to keep our kids healthy during summer?
We know—it might not be the most fun thing to propose to your child (even young children!) Chores add structure to kids’ days by giving them responsibilities that they might not have during the school year.
Have your teenager take care of some yard work, like weeding, lawn mowing, general clean-up, or pet poop patrol. Housework like dishes, laundry, bathroom cleaning, dusting and vacuuming are simple tasks that kids of all ages can help with. Sure, it’s not glamorous, but housework is a necessary life skill. Plus, research tells us that children actually feel happier when they make a meaningful contribution to the family.
Get your kids involved in the kitchen.
Cooking not only teaches kids and teens responsibility— it also encourages adventurous and healthy eating. Have your older kid(s) be responsible for a dinner each week. The local library has a fantastic selection of cookbooks (hey, that’s another activity to fill up a summer day!)
Kids can use part of their for meal planning, researching what they want to make and then creating a list of things to buy at the grocery store. They can put things together while you are at work, then cook with your supervision after work (teenagers can cook while you aren’t home). You want to make sure that their meal includes protein (meat/poultry/fish/dairy/beans/eggs), vegetables, and a wholegrain or high fiber starch. Make sure the child who is cooking is also cleaning up (she will be a neater cook that way, and let’s face it, it helps us, too!)
Whether you child or teen is cleaning, cooking, or taking part in a summer program, getting moving is an essential part of our day and makes for happy, healthy kids!
Our favorite youth summer programs in Central Oregon
Check out these programs to break up the monotony of summer for your child!
Bend Parks and Rec Day Camps and summer activities
Check out their Summer Playbook, which is available for download.
Deschutes County Library Storytimes and Other Programs
Fun and free weekly activities for parents and younger children.
Athletic Club of Bend Kid’s Programs
Their 2014 summer program guide is available for download.
Local swimming lessons
When a child learns to swim, he is opened up to a lifetime of summer fun!
Cascade Swim Center
Madras Aquatic Center
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Our Healthy Kids board shares ideas for getting kids active, healthy family recipes, and more!