Ahhhhh, It’s summer! No more homework battles, time schedules, and all that other “parenting stuff” that can get under our skin. It’s all about summer fun in the sun now, but wait… our kids have more time on their hands now, right? Even if they went to camp, life is easy, it should all be stress free.
Maybe I have exaggerated all this, but at the end, we must agree… they have more stress free time during summer. On the flip side, we, the parents, are still running at full throttle. Taking on work, projects, cooking, and more.
With traveling, camps, and time with friends, there’s still a bit more time available. Summer is a wonderful time to bring in some healthy habits that can continue on, even after summer has gone.
Cooking is something to introduce, and teach, from the moment they can mix two colors of play dough. Some of you may think I’m nuts, trust me, I’ve had some major kitchen disaster in my day. These same disasters have led to kids who enjoy various flavors, understand nutrition, and can even take over and cook a meal.
Think of the kitchen as family play time, a time to get messy together, try new things, and learn how to doctor flavors that may not be the favorites. If you can teach a child to understand flavors, and how to alter those flavors, meal time will soon become much more enjoyable! It’s time for the kids to choose the next new healthy recipe for the week. If they like what they’ve made, they can even start creating their own recipe library. Here’s a yummy recipe to get you started… Mahi Mahi Tacos.
2. Meal Prep
You would think this goes with cooking but it’s a whole other experience in itself. Prepping the kitchen for the meals of the week helps you and helps the entire household. Getting the kids involved in unpacking groceries, organizing cabinets, and chopping up veggies for the week can make meal time so much easier for whoever is left to cook that day. This is a great time to teach your young ones about food labels and ingredients. They can help you clean out the pantry of expired items and unhealthy choices. These are skills that will last them a lifetime.
3. Family Fitness
You have limitless possibilities in this category. Maybe it’s a day at a rock climbing gym, a fun bike ride, or some family Olympics in the pool. As parents, we tend to look at this as a chore. I need you to change your perspective! Think of this as a great way for you to burn calories and have some fun with your kids. Consider it one less workout for the week.
We went exploring around our neighborhood the other day, made it to Brickell City Centre, found some wandering robots delivering meals, chased the robots down to learn more, and needless to say we were walking, running, and having fun for more than 5 hours. That’s approximately 1200 calories burned! BAM!! The goal is to encourage activity every day, and activity is anything that increases your heart rate and make you sweat. Let’s get creative and encourage this as a fun part of the day for everyone.
This one is a bit more challenging, but who decided that mom was always in charge of laundry? From a young age they can sort colors, and I don’t mean blocks. Let’s talk socks and underwear. Keep in mind, no matter what ages your kids are, at some point in their lives they will need to do this stuff on their own. You might as well teach them all the tips and tricks for successful laundry, gradually, throughout their time with you. By high school, their stuff is their responsibility.
5. Drinking More Water
For some this may sound a bit silly, but hydration is that “thing” that can help you think better, lose weight, and support a healthier body. This is a habit that, we adults, either started later in life or brought forward from childhood. It’s a wonderful habit to instill in our kids. Teaching them to look at the color of their urine to see if they are dehydrated may sound gross to some, but to others it’s a great way to keep on a healthy track. Not to mention all the homemade infusions you can create with your kids to enjoy all summer and beyond.
This is one of my favorites. Now is a great time to get the veggies growing and make a plan to introduce a few fruits as well. Gardening is about cleaning up the yard, then making a plan to set it up with everything you enjoy. Getting the family involved can become a fitness activity, leading to a few kitchen staples for new recipes, and so much more. If you plan it right, the kids can start their barbecue training early and take pride in how the yard comes together for parties and gatherings with friends and family.
Instilling all these habits overnight is not something I encourage. Take it one at a time. It’s summer, make it fun. The idea is to keep in mind that at some point your kids will be heading off to college and the more good habits that we can introduce and keep, the better off they will be. Even if you are looking at your 5 year old, or your 18 year old, right now, anything they learn from you will be valuable down the line. Especially if it’s a healthy habit.
Wishing You Healthy Fun in the Sun!!