Here comes summer! Have you spent the last couple of weeks plotting out fun trips and activities for your kids? Certain you’re not forgetting anything? What about your plan for staying healthy over summer?
Want to make the most of this full-on time with your kids? Grab this chance to establish healthy habits in their lives that will help them enjoy good health with every year that passes.
Here are the 5 essential healthy habits that you can kickstart this summer!
- Teeth are a priority!
Not so concerned about your kids’ teeth because they will fall out anyway? Think you can teach your kids good oral habits once their adult teeth come in? Think again.
According to Celebrity Dental, a dental office in New York, “Since primary teeth eventually fall out to make way for permanent teeth, they may not seem as much of a priority. But this could not be further from the truth. Developing baby teeth help your child’s jaw develop properly and serve as a guide for permanent tooth position. If these teeth are lost early, it could cause oral developmental issues.”
If you have been lax on monitoring your kids’ teeth care until now, it’s not too late to start! Use this summer to zero in on your children’s brushing habits and make sure they’re brushing twice a day. Check out the American Dental Association’s website for practical tips on brushing for kids.
- Always wear sunscreen.
Heading out the door? Aside from grabbing water bottles and car keys, and making sure to lock up the house, what’s another step that needs doing in this scenario? Sunscreen.
There are other ways to stay safe from the sun, which include staying indoors during the heat of the day. Staying in the shade when out and wearing hats, coverups, and sunglasses. But because you can’t avoid the sun’s rays forever, the sunscreen habit is one you will want to firmly establish.
Wearing sunscreen is a habit best formed when kids are young. Make it an immovable part of your routine before you head out the door.
Not only will you be protecting yourself and your kids from sunburns and the discomfort that brings. But you will also be reducing your family’s risk of skin cancer.
- Naps save the day.
Because the days are longer during summer, your family might find it difficult to go to sleep at the regular hour. This can lead to a slowly building sleep debt which can have unpleasant results for the whole family.
Missed sleep results in crankiness, poor motor function (aka accidents), and a weakened immune system.
You might be surprised how many kids need naps even though they fight going down tooth and nail. To coerce reluctant nap goers, tell the kiddos they must stay in their bedrooms on their beds, even if they’re not sleeping. They can read or play on a tablet. If they’re sleep deprived, they’ll fall asleep on their own once they’re prone.
A well-timed nap will not only give you a well-deserved break and a moment to prop up your feet. But it can serve as a mood-reset for your kids.
- Have a snack schedule and stick to it.
With the kids home from school, do you feel like your day consists of continual demands for snacks and food?
Even if you serve healthy snacks, snacking at all hours is unhealthy for the digestive system. And it hinders kids from feeling hungry enough to eat nutritious meals.
Establish times in the day when you set out snacks. During times that are not the established “snack” time, don’t cave to pressure. Your kids are not really “starving.” Rather, they are likely bored and are looking for a quick source of something to satisfy their mood.
Point to the clock and be firm. This will teach your children to not rely on food as their only source of pleasure, but to find other ways to satisfy their desire for entertainment.
- Guzzle that water.
Starting from this summer, get your kids into the habit of tracking their water intake. Print out a chart with water cups and have them color in or put a sticker on each cup of water that they drink.
Other ways to encourage this habit is to gamify it. See which member of the family can rack up the most consecutive days of drinking 8 cups of water. Decide on a treat or reward for the winners.
Drinking water in the summer is particularly essential for avoiding heat exhaustion.