How to keep your children active this summer

Keeping children occupied during the school holidays can be a challenge for most parents. And this year it looks like many youngsters will be stuck to the sofa, as a survey by uSwitch.com suggests children will spend more than six entire days watching TV during the summer break.

The survey asked just over 2,000 UK parents with children under the age of 11 about their offspring’s TV habits. It also found that parents think their children would much rather watch TV, play computer games and use iPads or tablets than take part in more traditional activities such as drawing and painting, attending activity clubs and reading.

This could mean many children may not be getting the recommended amount of exercise while they’re away from school. Official guidelines state children under the age of five should be physically active for at least 180 minutes every day, while those aged five and older should exercise for at least 60 minutes a day.

If your children are naturally very active and always on the go, making sure they’re getting the right amount of exercise may not be a problem. Some parents, however, may find it more difficult to get their children to switch off their screens.

The key to keeping children active is to make sure exercise is never boring. Try to find activities the whole family can get involved in, as this can make being active more fun. Also plan each week ahead, so you have something active to do with your children every day.

Here are a few ideas:

  • The uSwitch survey discovered more than half of parents believe a trip to the local park is one of the top ways to keep children entertained over the summer. Try to think of activities you can do when you get there, such as roller skating, skateboarding, kite flying, football or playing frisbee.
  • Instead of your local park, plan a day out to your nearest National Park – there are 15 National Parks around the UK, and many offer activities such as walking, cycling, horse riding, boating and climbing, as well as children’s fun days. Find out more at www.nationalparks.gov.uk and read our article Get active with a parks adventure.
  • If your children are interested in sports, clubs or other activities, find out about local fitness and sports clubs and events for all the family in your area.
  • There are loads of summer activities planned up and down the country this year. Get more details about free family fun days, open days and taster sessions where you live by visiting the Change4Life website.
  • Do you know other parents with children where you live? If so, consider starting an Ultimate Dodgeball team for children aged seven to 18 in the area, and help the British Heart Foundation raise money for research at the same time – find out more at the charity’s website.
  • You could also sign up for a charity fun run together and make training for the event something you do as a family. Try finding the right fun run by visiting the Time Outdoors and Run For Charity websites.

Don’t forget – if you’re spending time outdoors with your family this summer, make sure everyone’s skin is protected from the sun. Ask your Careway pharmacist to recommend a sunscreen product you can all use, and remember to apply it correctly and regularly. See our article How to keep children safe in the sun for more details.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.