Nine tips for parents and kids on how to stay healthy over the summer

May 12, 2015 by Ayleen Barbel Fattal

More than one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. is overweight or obese. In Miami, more than 40 percent of young children are overweight or obese with most parents not being aware of their child's current health status.

Children who are overweight are more likely to be at risk for future health problems, peer difficulties and that can lead to problem behaviors, which can also interfere with learning.

Adopting healthier eating habits and staying active can help improve children's academic achievement and lower the risk for obesity and related diseases. However, making healthy lifestyle choices can be challenging for parents, especially if a is a picky eater.

With summer vacation around the corner, psychologist Paulo Graziano offers some tips for parents and their children on how to stay healthy over the summer.

  1. Discuss what it means to be healthy. Parents should engage in conversations with their children that explain that being healthy requires proper exercise and a well-balanced diet.
  2. Reduce screen time. Parents should try to reduce the amount of hours spent in front of screens (iPads, TVs, computers, etc.). Although there are many educational programs, it is important to not exceed two hours per day on these devices.
  3. Eat dinner as a family. Rather than preparing different dishes for every member in the family, caretakers are encouraged to create one healthy dish that everyone will eat. This can help model the positive eating behaviors you want your children to engage in.
  4. Sweat is good for you! Make sure to engage in physical activity with your child that involves getting sweaty. The best physical activities will leave your child's hairline wet and include both the child and parent in the activity.
  5. Let your child pick which healthy food is on their plate. When caretakers are purchasing groceries, allow children to pick out the fruits and vegetables they are willing to try. Children are more likely to eat foods they pick out, rather than foods they are forced to eat.
  6. Make it a family effort. If you want your child to pick up healthier habits, encourage your family to be supportive and start making healthier habits themselves. It can encourage the child to pick up these habits sooner if they realize everyone in their family is supportive and making the same choices.
  7. Provide praise. It is incredibly important to tell children that their efforts are appreciated. Any and all attempts at trying new foods should be celebrated. Providing positive feedback about their willingness to try the food will increase the chances of them trying it again.
  8. Helpful resources. Resources like USDA's ChooseMyPlate.gov provide families with a variety of tips and suggestions on how to promote at home. ChooseMyPlate also has guides for plates with the correct portions for children and adults. These plates can help parents monitor how much their children are eating and what is recommended for children according to their age.
  9. Keep it natural. When choosing snacks, make sure to keep it simple. A bag of fruits and vegetables will be healthier and provide more natural energy than any other snack. Also, try to reduce the amount of juice and milk your consume. Water is the most beneficial and healthiest drink you can offer your child.

Explore further: Start healthy eating habits early to head off obesity in kids

Related Stories

Start healthy eating habits early to head off obesity in kids

April 28, 2015
(HealthDay)—Though it may not always be easy, helping young children develop healthy eating habits is worth the effort, experts say.

Researchers suggest ways to develop healthy eating habits in a child

April 20, 2015
A healthy diet promotes success in life—better concentration and alertness, better physical health that translates into good mental and emotional health.

Tight family budget may lessen impact of food commercials on children

May 12, 2015
Young children in households with no financial restraints may be at risk for poor eating habits by watching television commercials about fast food, sugary drinks and salty snacks.

Eat healthy -- your kids are watching

May 30, 2012
If lower-income mothers want kids with healthy diets, it's best to adopt healthy eating habits themselves and encourage their children to eat good foods rather than use force, rewards or punishments, says a Michigan State ...

Parents matter more than they think in how their children eat

March 18, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Helping children learn to eat well can be a challenge. Some children happily eat whatever is put in front of them while others seem to eat like birds and exist more on air than food. A new study by a ...

Parents rank their obese children as 'very healthy'

July 21, 2014
A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine-led study suggests that parents of obese children often do not recognize the potentially serious health consequences of childhood weight gain or the importance of daily ...

Recommended for you

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk

June 22, 2017
New research has shown that the youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk of worse mental health than their older classmates.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.