The end of this past school year was a bit difficult for our whole family. Not only were we preparing for a huge move and house renovation right in the middle of end-of-school activities, but my son had 3 trips to urgent care with allergy, coughing and breathing problems.
He doesn’t get sick much outside of the normal winter cold, so we are definitely concerned and have opened a dialogue with his new pediatrician about it.
That’s why I’m thrilled that it’s summer break. I have an opportunity to spend more time with my kids than I do during the school year. This gives me a chance to really observe where they are at as people – mentally, physically and emotionally.
I keep my eye on their behavior and health. Do they seem active and full of energy? Are there heavy concerns weighing on their minds? Does anything seem amiss? This summer in particular, I’ll be watching my son’s health pretty closely, given his recent difficulties.
For us, summertime will be a big reset. My kids can rest their bodies and minds and re-energize themselves for the next school year. It can be a great opportunity to kick off a new year on a very healthy start. Here are some of the things I do over the summer to ensure optimal back-to-school health.
Schedule well checks. My kids have summer birthdays, so it’s a perfect time to schedule their annual doctor visits and go over any concerns.
Get outside. Recess periods are so short during the school year! Now, the weather is gorgeous and the days are long. I encourage my kids to get outside whenever possible. TV, computer and video game time is reserved for the late afternoon, after we’ve stayed busy and had some fun outdoors. I find that if I let them plug in too early in the day, it’s difficult to get them to turn it off. So whether it’s going for a bike ride, heading to the beach, or skateboarding in our cul-de-sac, we play first and plug in later!
Don’t overschedule. Kids’ school days are much more regimented than ours were when we were young. They have so much on their plates – get up, go to school, do homework, head to afterschool activities, eat dinner, bathe – that they really have very little free time to just play and be themselves. I like to be judicious in my use of camps and scheduled activities during the summer, because a child shouldn’t be burned out before the school year even starts!
Keep them reading. Because I truly believe that summer break should be a break and not an extension of the school year, I don’t ask my kids to do a ton of summer academics. But the one exception to my rule is reading. 30 minutes of quiet reading time each day is a great way to keep those little minds and imaginations going strong all summer long. When they start the next school year, the kids have maintained their momentum and hit the ground running!
Reinforce good habits. During the school day, so much of what our kids do is outside of our direct influence (scary, isn’t it?). They are making choices on their own all day long. They have to decide whether to eat that healthy lunch we prepared for them, or whether to take unnecessary chances on the playground. Summer can be a good time to reinforce good habits and choice-making on eating, personal hygiene, safety and behavior – setting them up for a healthier and more successful school year.
I also recommend visiting WebMD’s Mom’s Guide To Family Health for more ideas, tips and resources for helping your kids and family stay strong and healthy, not just at back-to-school time, but all year long!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Target. The opinions and text are all mine.