For those of us in the southern hemisphere summer is here and hotter than ever. Parents and care-givers are faced with the task of keeping kids occupied, happy and healthy during this summer school term.
Here are some tips to keep your kids healthy during this time.
1. Good nutrition is extremely important during long, hot summer days. Children spend a lot more time in the sun than usual and are typically a lot busier than during the rest of the year. Try to feed them a healthy breakfast which includes protein and healthy fat; this will stabilise their blood sugar and set them up with energy for the day. During summer there are wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season and available from your local organic market at lower prices, so it is the perfect time to eat them in abundance. Make sure to include plenty of cooling foods like salad, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, home-made fruit pops and fruit smoothies.
2. Limit screen time and encourage physical activity. Children these days can get lost in the TV, laptop, Ipad and Smartphone and waste hours watching movies, playing games or “chatting” with friends. Try to limit their screen time to 1-2 hours per day and make sure they are outside doing physical activity instead. Encourage them to swim, hula hoop, ride bikes, play games like hop-scotch and hide and seek, and arrange play dates with their friends at the park.
3. Be sun smart. The sun at this time of year is incredibly strong and can result in bad sunburn, dehydrations and sun-stroke if the proper precautions are not taken. Children should spend time in the shade during the hottest hours between 11am and 3pm and cover up with breathable clothing and hats.
4. Keep hydrated. Kids are active in the hot weather which makes them dehydrate easily. Make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid giving them sugary drinks and energy drinks. If your children don’t like to drink water then consider making fresh, healthy juice from organic produce or blend fresh organic fruit with water and make a smoothie.