Tips for Helping Kids Stay Fit During the Summer

Tips for Helping Kids Stay Fit During the Summer

Many parents don't have to think twice about keeping their kids active when school's in session. With team sports, mandatory physical education classes, and recess, children may easily stay fit during the school year. However, when summertime rolls around, it can be hard to motivate those same kids to play outside and get exercise without the familiar structure.

The good news is that opportunities abound for children to have fun with fitness during the summer. Follow these tips to empower your little ones to stay fit and healthy during the summer and beyond.

Present Fitness Opportunities as Grand Adventures

After many months on a structured schedule, children may cling to the feeling of freedom that summer brings, but you have a big influence on how your children will feel about summer fitness plans.

Present each fitness activity you'd like your kids to try as an exciting opportunity. Talk up the benefits from a child's perspective. For example, if you'd like your children to go to an active day camp, you may talk about your children may meet new friends they can play with throughout the year. Discuss the cool experiences they can have.

Also, if you have flexibility, framing it as a question can help give children a sense of control. Ask your kids whether they may want to try a certain activity you want them to do. When children feel as though going to an activity like swim class is a privilege they chose, they are more likely to look forward to going every week and get a lot more out of it.

Find Programs Where Kids Can Enjoy Time with Peers

Enrolling children in a summer day camp, dance classes, or swimming lessons may be a great fit for your children. Not only do they allow kids to have fun while moving, but they also allow children to meet other kids their age and relate to them outside of the school environment. Kids can be more likely to look forward to a fitness activity if it's seen as a fun time with friends.

Have a Retro Night Once Per Week

Have a retro night once per week as a part of your family fun during the summer months. This can be a great opportunity to help teach your kids new things about society's not-so-distant history while encouraging physical activity. Children will never even suspect that they're learning and getting exercise while having a blast with you.

For one example, plan a 1970's night where everyone dresses up in fun prints and bell bottoms to go roller skating. As another example, have a 1980's night where you teach your kids aerobics to classic pop rock workout tunes of the decade from artists like Olivia Newton-John. You may even round out themed nights with a family-friendly movie that you think epitomizes the decade.

Be Consistent

Adjusting to any new schedule can be difficult at first, but children thrive on structure even if they don't know they want it. Try to be consistent with activities throughout the summer. If you enroll your children in swimming lessons, choose times that are convenient for the whole family.

Making things as easy as possible for you and your kids can help make sure you stick to a fitness program. Try to anticipate any challenges and see how you can work around them. For example, if you go on a vacation while kids in a swim class, you may take the opportunity to supervise your kids in the hotel swimming pool instead of them taking a break from swimming altogether.

Having a sense of community around your children's fitness endeavors can enrich the experiences they have. That can also inspire them to experience new things such as learning to swim or studying a new kind of dance. Contact the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati for more information on our youth development, family fitness program, and day camps.