From our friends at BaxterSports

Summer is coming and while kids are rejoicing, it forces parents to rethink some things! The routines and schedules that we have relied on to keep kids healthy and active – school, PE, or sports practice – are dismantled for 3 months. Although it can inconvenience us as parents, the free time is healthy and it’s necessary for kids. It’s important to have time to unwind, relax, catch up on sleep, and well, just be a kid.

While kids need free time, it can also lead to some negative effects. For some, the trouble is inactivity in the form of more screen time. For others, they may do too much!  Finding the right balance is key, and to help parents find that balance, we’ve provided a few tips.

BaxterSports’ Top 5 Ways to Keep Kids Active and Healthy Over the Summer

1. Limit screen time and make kids earn it. Most of us are guilty of using screen time as a convenient tool to keep our kids occupied. It’s bad enough during the school year, but during the summer multiply that by 10! Research has shown that children who spend less time in front of a screen do better in school, have a healthier diet, are more physically active, and are better able to engage in schoolwork. (screenfree.org)

Less screen time means more time to be creative; to build something, create a new game, practice their sport, read a book, or spend time with a friend.

Setting concrete rules for usage is a great way to avoid arguments about it. Let the kids be part of the decision-making process so that they can earn that reward. That way, it’s not just mom and dad “being mean.”

At BaxterSports camps we don’t allow campers to have cell phones – six whole hours with no screens!

2. Keep healthy snacks around. Left to their own devices, kids will choose candy over fruit, packaged food over carrot sticks.  According to kidshealth.org, the right snacks offered at the right times can play an important role in managing kids’ hunger and boosting nutrition, as well as giving a much-needed energy boost without the rush and crash of sugar. Keep a plate of mixed nuts, sliced fruit or veggies and dip on the table to make the choice easy. Let them loose in the produce department so that they have some ownership in the process.

At every BaxterSports camp, we emphasize the importance of nutrition and its impact on performance.

3. Try a new activity. Summer is a great time to try new things. Encourage kids to overcome the hesitation, fear and discomfort of an unfamiliar activity. The time commitment is shorter, yet it’s long enough to give kids an idea if they enjoy that new activity or not. It’s also a way to make new friends! At BaxterSports, our All Sports camps incorporate a variety of activities for kids to gain new athletic experiences.

4. Plan activities with a friend. Kids tend to be more motivated and enjoy themselves when they do things with a buddy or two. A bike ride around the neighborhood, playing in the park, or even a fun game of Monopoly is more fun together. In an environment like summer camp, the fun atmosphere allows kids to be themselves and practice their social skills. They’re able to to strengthen old friendships and cultivate new ones. Sign up for camps with a friend for more fun!

5. Avoid overuse injuries. This one is more for the kids who are maybe too active. In the world of youth sports, one troubling trend is burnout and overuse injuries due to specialization (https://nypost.com/2017/06/19/the-epidemic-thats-ruining-youth-sports/). Young athletes should cross train by doing multiple sports and activities. Beyond avoiding overuse injuries, cross-training develops a healthy range of motor and coordination skills, as well as reinforcing bodily awareness. (hhs.edu)

At BaxterSports All Sports camps, kids get a chance to play a variety of sports and games. At our 4 Pillars Elite Soccer Camps, campers learn sport psychology, soccer-specific yoga, speed and agility, sports nutrition, and more. This is not only good for a well-rounded player, but helps to avoid burnout.

PDX Parent Staff
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