My love/hate relationship with summer vacation


by Melissa Muhr

Melissa and daughterSummer vacation. I have a love/hate relationship with it. For my children, summer vacation symbolizes freedom, fun and testing my patience. Without the structure of a school day routine, it can be easy for children to fall into bad habits, such as watching too much TV, playing countless hours of video games and reaching for those infamous sugary snacks. While children might enjoy this freedom, spending too much time engaging in sedentary activities like these can quickly lead to unhealthy lifestyles. To prevent this unhealthy lifestyle here are a few tips on how I keep my children healthy over summer vacation and save my sanity at the same time!


Set a schedule 

While sleeping in is a summertime luxury, it can impede the purpose of having a routine. To prevent bad habits that result from boredom, add some structure into your children’s day. Getting up around the same time, planning activities and having scheduled meal times are all great ways to incorporate structure into those lazy summer days.


Plan daily meals and snacks

While some people might argue that schools contribute to childhood obesity, I feel children are less likely to gain weight during the school year. I think it is because schools have scheduled meal times, preventing children from snacking excessively throughout the day. Without the structured routine, children are more likely to snack out of boredom over summer break and pack on extra weight.


Sign up for a summer sports league or summer camps

Experts recommend that children should exercise at least 60 minutes each day. Getting your children involved in a summer league or camp is a great way to keep them active, help them make new friends and teach them the importance of teamwork. Start by asking your children what sports/activities they’re interested in playing or participating in and go from there.


Make fitness a family affair

While it can be hard to juggle work, family, and fitness, summer is a great time to get the entire family active. Without the need to help your children finish their homework and study for test after dinner, you can use this extra time to get outside, and let’s say race BMX instead of watching sitcoms after supper. If you’re not into BMX, try playing catch, shooting some hoops, taking a hike or going to the park.

 flag football

Drink plenty of water

No matter how you choose to keep your children active this summer, it’s important to make sure they’re staying hydrated. Experts recommend that children should drink at least half of their total body weight in ounces of water each day, especially when playing sports in warm weather. So whether you’re headed to the races or to a play date, make sure your children have a bottle of water with them.

These are just a few guidelines I like to follow to keep my children healthy over summer vacation. While there is not a one size fits all routine that works for every family, I hope that some of my tips will help you to ensure that your children stay healthy over the summer, and your sanity stays in tact. As always, have fun and be safe this summer!

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