School’s finally out, and whether it fills you with dread or joy, the fact remains that you and your kiddos are now embarking on three months of Summer freedom. Everyone can stay up a little later, hang outside a little longer, and even indulge in a sweet frozen treat or two.
But just because the days are longer and there’s no homework to be done doesn’t mean everything needs to be thrown out of whack! A little structure will do your squad some good, especially if there’s no camp on the agenda and all the Summer fun is up to you. Try a few of these summertime tips and tricks to keep the whole family feeling healthy, happy, and energized for the entire Summer break.
Summertime Tips and Tricks to Keep the Whole Family Healthy
Get Crafty With Food
One of the easiest ways to make fruits and veggies, which are full of nutrients and antioxidants, palatable to kids is to make them eye-catching. Yes, both food groups are naturally colorful, but it’s how you serve them that makes all the difference.
Instead of just handing your kid an apple or orange, buy a bunch of fresh fruit at the grocery store, cut or cube it all, and then put it on a platter in a rainbow shape — strawberries, orange slices, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries, and blackberries for your own edible version of ROYGBIV. Your kids will be far more excited to taste a “rainbow” than to just eat, say, a boring apple. For veggies, be crafty. Sneak puréed butternut squash into a mac & cheese supper or cook zucchini spirals with marinara instead of noodles.
Sing a Song of Sunscreen
It’s critical to protect your kids — and yourself — from potentially harmful UV sun rays. Make sunscreen application fun by singing a favorite song or silly tune together while you apply lotion, spray, or gel to small kids or as tweens apply it to themselves.
Start the process before you head outside into the sun, and be sure to use something broad-spectrum with at least SPF 30. Use at least a palm-full on smaller kids and more for older children. Reapply every two hours, or sooner if your crew is swimming or otherwise working up a sweat. Add hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, and UPF (Ultra Violet Protective)-rated clothing to your family’s Summer uniforms.
When it’s hot outside, it can be a challenge to stay hydrated, since you — and the kids — are losing fluids to sweat. Sweating isn’t a bad thing. Think of it as your body’s natural air conditioning system. But you’ve got to give it fuel in the form of fluids so it can prevent you from overheating. Water isn’t always the most fun or exciting thing to drink, so mix it up.
Add unsweetened, noncaffeinated iced tea (like hibiscus) or a smoothie to your family’s daily fluid intake. You can also freeze berries or mint into ice cubes and use those to perk up plain water for the kiddos. Make sure every family member has his or her own water bottle, and anytime you’re traveling or heading outdoors, take them with you so you can keep filling up.
Give the “Gift” of Good Oral Hygiene
Staying up past their school year bedtimes doesn’t mean your little ones get a pass on teeth brushing. Make sure your kids are on top of their brushing and flossing game by gifting them a new Summer tooth care kit. Pick out a little pouch and fill it with fun goodies like sugar-free breath mints, a fun toothbrush, and for older kids, little mini flossers. If you’ve already talked to your dentist about starting your kiddos on a fluoride toothpaste, give each one their own tube of Aquafresh Bubble Mint. Not only does it provide gentle care and the benefit of Sugar Acid Protection from fluoride, but it actually tastes good, too, which should make those daily brushes much easier!