by Kathryn Grissom
With summer almost here, and the possibility of a lot of down time and screen time for our children, we as parents need to be motivated to keep our children active and focused on healthy habits before they settle into a sedentary lifestyle for the summer.
For some children, physical activity comes easily, and parents do not have to coerce them to get moving. Others don’t enjoy it as much, but with creativity and involvement, they too will begin to enjoy this lifestyle.
I am a huge advocate of building confidence, healthy habits and comfort levels for each individual child. Remind your children that God did not make us all the same. Therefore not everybody is going to be good at every sport.
We need to remember that doing our best is what matters, and what builds confidence and health as we grow.
Here are some different ways that we can keep our children active and healthy this summer.
Parents do not need to spend a lot of money on sports equipment. Find things around your house that you can use to get them moving.
Roll up a pair of socks and use as a ball. This can be used in the house without fear of breaking something.
Get outside and play with them. This does not have to be an hour-long ordeal or even 30 minutes. Ten to 15 minutes of activity go a long way.
Go for a walk to the end of the street and back, have them race your pet or play a sport with them.
We learned several fun new games this year in CMDS PE that can be played in the backyard, from cricket ball and handball to beanbag toe tag, touch Rugby and Frisbee.
We want our children to enjoy what they may be doing and not look at it as a chore.
I encourage parents to take part and to use language that focuses on the importance of fitness. Save constructive feedback for later. We want this to be a time that they are having fun so that they will want to do it over and over.
Healthy eating is also a very important piece of the puzzle. Your children have learned throughout the year how to read food labels, how to figure a serving size and the importance of healthy eating at their age.
One mistake we all make, especially as the weather gets warmer, is offering more sport drinks. Stick to the basics – water, water, water! It is by far the best drink anyone can have. A sport drink here or there is fine, but they should not be an everyday treat.
Some advice when picking snacks for your children would be to limit their sugar intake. So many foods have so much sugar in them, and we are not even aware.
Begin to read the labels with your children and discuss the choices your family is making.
There are so many options of cookies, salty snacks and bars that are healthy. We do not want to deprive the kids of all the “good” stuff; just offer it to them in moderation.
Always offer fresh fruit, veggies and fruit popsicles. You may be surprised how well your children really like them.
These are just a few healthy habits and ideas to keep your child active, to build their confidence, to help them eat better and to reduce their screen and down time this summer.
Nona’s Oatmeal Muffins
Here is one of my family’s favorite, healthy recipes, which was passed down from my mother. A fun summer activity could be to make them with your child. I hope your family will enjoy them too!
- 1 1/2 cups steel cut organic oats
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (any flavor of flour will work)
- 1 cup organic raw brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup oil (canola, coconut or veg)
- 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
Preheat 400 degrees. Put paper in the muffin tins. Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients. Then combine the 2 together. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or longer if more browning is desired. Makes 9 to 15 muffins.
Kathryn Grissom has taught PE at Christ Methodist Day School for the past 12 years. She holds a BAA from the University of Mississippi and a MAT from the University of Memphis. She is also the mom of three CMDS alums: Andrew, CMDS Class of 2008; Robert, CMDS Class of 2011; and Ann Ragan, CMDS Class of 2013.