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  • Keeping Kids Active this Summer

  • Girl with footballFor most kids, summer means a welcome break from classrooms and homework. It also means that many young people get lazy. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure your kids don't take a vacation from recreation.

    Less Viewing, More Doing

    While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a maximum of 2 hours a day of television for kids over 2, the average American child logs twice that amount daily. Many children spend even more time surfing the Internet, playing video games, texting, and chatting on cell phones. Technology can be an excellent source of education and enrichment, but too much of it leaves less time for healthy physical activity.

    Keep tabs on kids' screen time by allowing computers and televisions in family areas, but not kids' bedrooms. Doing so ensures that children get enough sleep, which improves overall wellbeing and energy levels. Plus, limiting television and Internet time forces them to find other ways to pass the hours.

    When they do watch television, encourage kids to run in place, shadow box, dance, or do jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Typical commercial breaks are two minutes long-just enough time for a quick fitness fix.

    In many households, the television goes on as soon as dinner's over. Break this habit by getting the family out for a walk, which also helps aid digestion. And bring the dog! By the time you return, your children may have forgotten about television altogether.

    If your kids can't get enough of video games, steer them toward active games, where body motion controls the game. Dance games, in particular, are great workouts.

    Do As I Say-And As I Do