TEXAS – Without gym classes or athletics practice, many parents are wondering how to keep their kids active and burn off some energy during summer vacation.
- Tips to keep kids active during summer
- No exercise can hurt performance when school restarts
- Reminder to stay hydrated during outdoor time
San Antonio mother Jackie Stovall works to keep her four children active while they are home-schooled.
“You see the pent-up energy, arguments or maybe just not being compliant with the things you want to do,” said Stovall. “I think the first step is getting them away from their screens.”
Stovall also recommends working with your kids to discover what type of exercise they enjoy.
“I think it would be great if you could get 60 minutes every day, but minimum, at least 30 minutes every day, if you can,” said personal trainer Shawn Kraft.
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Kraft said when kids go several weeks without exercise, it can hurt their performance in school when classes start in the fall.
“You’ve got long classes and your energy level is going to be lacking,” Kraft said.
Kraft also said that even if kids look healthy, parents should still make sure they are getting the exercise they need.
For Stovall, it is easy to give her kids mandatory outdoor time every day.
“Don’t feel like you have to plan an activity every time,” Stovall said. “The most valuable thing a kid can get is free time for imaginative play.”
Stovall has a couple of tricks to help with motivation, such as setting out play clothes or toys, as an invitation to play.
“Play games like tag, dodgeball, Frisbee, football,” Kraft said.
Stovall said kids who are use to organized playtime might have trouble learning to use their imaginations to entertain themselves, but that parents shouldn’t worry about initial boredom or resistance.
“Kids don’t like to know that it’s an actual workout,” Kraft said. “You’ve got to kind of sneak it in there and let them know that they can play with their friends.”
When parents need to keep the kids inside, it is recommended they try free YouTube workout classes.
“I think it’s just so natural for kids to want to be active,” Stovall said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting outdoor time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Parents should also remember to keep their kids hydrated during outdoor time.
The Institute of Medicine recommends younger kids drink 64 ounces of water a day. Teens should drink at least twice that amount and all kids should try to drink extra water during the hot summer months.