3 Steps to a DIY Healthy Summer for Your Kids

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Summer is almost here, and I am starting to feel that well- known sense of relief that the hectic school year  is almost over. I’m also feeling that creeping sense of panic when I think of all the free- time that’s about to hit, when the average temperature is over ninety degrees on any given day, and the dreaded two little words, “I’m Bored”, usually kick in on about Day 4.

On top of that, junk food and constant snacking seem to want to creep in to my home almost the minute school lets out, and all household food rules want to fly out the window.

Three kids and fourteen summers later, I’ve tried just about every tactic known to man to enjoy a fun, healthy and stress-free summer.

Here are some tried and true tips that seem to work consistently, year after year:

  1. Have a Plan: Even you non-planners need a plan, or your kids will immediately take over your home and your mind, regardless of their age. Set rules around eating, and what times the pantry and fridge are “OPEN” or “CLOSED” during the day, and stick to it. For smaller kids, this might even mean locking the pantry when possible in between meals. You can even post “KITCHEN HOURS” on your fridge or pantry doors. This will also help with the dishes and snack bags that seem to multiply exponentially around the house and never make it to the trash or sink unless you personally take them! Stay firm on no “mindless eating” in front of the TV, which leads to overeating, and make them put their snack of choice in a small bowl or container so they aren’t eating out of a bag.

2. Get Organized: Clean out your pantry now and stock it with healthy snacks, so that when the kids do hit the pantry, there are only good choices there for them. Toss out the sodas and juice and buy a Soda Stream, Nutribullet or Juicer and let your kids make their own fun and healthy summer drinks. My kids love to create their own concoctions and these are all easy and kid-friendly to clean when they are done. Teach them how to make their own “TO- GO” snack bags to take to the pool or park, so they’re not tempted to hit the snack bar where fried foods, unhealthy shakes and Icees full of sugar and food dye seem to rule. Set parameters before you go as to what they can purchase that day (or not), so you aren’t dealing with a nagging child the entire time you are there. If they persist, go back to my favorite statement, “I love you too much to argue.” I sware it works at any age.

IMG_92343. Kill the Screens: Without fail, the more screen time my kids get, the worse their behavior is. Luckily, I figured this out at a very early age. In the summer, our screen rules are “No Screens Between 9am and 6pm.” This rule has become a bit trickier with the advent of Ipads and cell phones from when we first created it years ago, however it still works. It has evolved to: “No TV shows or Movies or Gaming of Any Kind between 9am-6pm.”  This can be tough with the little bitty kids, and sometimes you just need a 3o minute sanity break, so take it. But be mindful of what you are letting your kids watch. Don’t stick your 4 year old in front of Sponge Bob. Make choices like Animal Planet that offer some value to your kids.

With the older kids, once they know you aren’t backing down, they quit asking and actually find something beneficial to do with their time. Once again, you can find a place to post the “Summer Screen Rules” to keep it official.

May is almost upon us, so get busy and enjoy your summer.

If you need help with any of the above suggestions, I’m available to help your family start their summer on the right track!

 

 

 

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