It’s a given that most kids see the summer vacation as a chance to slow down and recharge their batteries after an intense school year. But it can be a double-edged sword when it comes to physical and mental development.
Kristi King, a registered dietitian with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, says with childhood obesity
a serious concern.
“I think it’s important to remember that it is recommended by the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics that children need 60 minutes of physical activity every day, whether they’re in school, or on the weekends, or during the summertime. I think that’s really important for parents to remember that.”
You can stretch out the hour over time … 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. It can be a couple of hours. The important thing is to get that heart rate up with a little sweating, to make sure that children are meeting their needs physically.
King says parents can include their kids with some activity, like kicking the ball around, taking walk after dinner, or even video games with activity that keeps them engaged.
Hernandez: “If some parents don’t have that luxury to spend more time with their kids during the summer, there are alternatives too, right?”
King: “There are, you know, day camps, or things like that. They can check out the local parks and recreations, usually has ongoing, low cost camps or physical activity-type things that kids can be involve in. Of course, we’ve got YMCA that has things that goes year round.”
Magali Carbajal is the director of Day Camp for the YMCA. She says they coordinate activities with other agencies during the summer, like:
“Children Museum. We invite guest speakers like the City of Houston, the fire department that come and talk to the kids about fire safety [and] stranger danger. The police HPD, they come and do the fingerprints, so that our parents can keep all that in their records. So we keep the kids busy through all the day. And of course not including the swimming, because they’re always eager to go to the pool.”
The Y’s Ann Herlocher says kids and summer go hand-in-hand, physically and mentally.
“We love to have them involved in activities that are fun, but they’re also learning at the same time. And they may not know that they’re learning, but that’s the best part.”
You can find more information at www.ymcahouston.org, or by calling 713 659-5566 for the location nearest you.