Keeping kids active in the summer can be challenging. The decrease in physical activity without physical education classes, organized sports and after-school playground time in the summers places many kids at a sedentary level of activity, which can increase the risk for obesity and set children back developmentally during the three months they’re at home.
There’s no reason kids can’t stay active during the summers, even when it’s hot outside. Time bike rides or playground visits in the mornings before the temperature rises, or in the late afternoons when it cools off. For blazing hot midsummer mid-days, check out indoor play areas at places like your local YMCA or kids’ activity center, or hit the pool or beach to cool off.
Even moderately hot weather shouldn’t limit activity if you use common sense precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat cramps. The most common causes of heat-related illnesses are poor hydration, inappropriate clothing, and unnecessary physical exertion. Dress your children for the weather in light-colored, sleeveless outfits in summer-weight fabrics. Most importantly, remember to stay hydrated by bringing along plenty of water.
Watch out for signs of heat-related illness, which includes dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps and weakness. If you child experiences any of these symptoms, slow down, get hydrated and try to lower body temperature by sitting in the shade or getting out of the heat. If symptoms don’t subside or get worse, call your doctor. Visit the emergency room for extreme heat-related conditions, like heat stroke.
The best way to get your kids out and active is to set a do-as-I-do policy. Your children will be more likely to be active if you are. Play a game of basketball together, or grab the water guns for a fun day in the backyard. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
What outdoor activities do you like to do with your kids? Share your thoughts.