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How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

Millions of Aussie kids are about to go on school holidays. If your child is one of them, you may be grappling for new ways to amuse them. Look no further.
Here are 7 ideas for healthy holiday activities, which might just be good for the whole family.

Get kids in the kitchen

Teaching children how to cook is an easy way to encourage them to eat healthily — well into adulthood. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that young adults (aged 18 to 23) with some cooking skills had better nutritional outcomes a decade later, such as eating more vegetables and consuming less fast food.

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

Be active for at least 1 hour

There is some evidence that children can lose some fitness and increase their body mass index (BMI) during a summer break. So, children aged 5 and over should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.

Try incorporating activities that make kids ‘puff’, and build strength, into your day. For example, a few minutes of dancing before dinner, playing ‘chasey’ or ‘tip’, and scootering to the shops.

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

Busy work schedules, lack of space and screen time — on devices such as TVs and tablets — can get in the way of physical activity. If you can’t get out to a park, consider talking to neighbours with young children about sharing the supervision of play time outside or in a safe street.

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

How to do healthy things with your kids these school holidays

Go on a geocaching adventure

Geocaching is a real-life, outdoor treasure hunt. You follow GPS (global positioning system) coordinates on your GPS-enabled device (such as a mobile phone) to find a ‘geocache’ (a container) hidden at that location.
Inside the geocache is a logbook and ‘treasure’, which might include inexpensive small toys, ornamental buttons, books or interesting coins. Your child can take one of the treasures and replace it with something of equal value.
To get started, register for free at Geocaching.com. Don’t forget: comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, a pen, water, healthy snacks and something to leave inside the geocache.

Schedule swim time

School holidays can be the perfect opportunity for kids to master their freestyle — or simply build their confidence in the water.
This is particularly important for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who are at greater risk of drowning than the general population. Children with ASD are more likely to wander and be attracted to water.
Find a swimming instructor who’s specially trained in coaching kids with ASD.

Let them sleep

Kids need more sleep than adults, which facilitates their growth, learning and development. Getting a solid night’s sleep can make your child happier, help them concentrate and improve their behaviour.
While it’s tempting to stay out later in the school holidays — and the odd late night for a special occasion is unlikely to cause harm — try to stick to their normal bedtime routine and encourage your child to get enough sleep for their age:
Ages 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours
Ages 6 to 13: 9 to 11 hours
Ages 14 to 17: 8 to 10 hours

Let them be bored

You don’t need to amuse your kids every minute of the school holidays — boredom is good for children. By pushing through boredom and entertaining themselves, kids learn to think more creatively and hone their problem-solving skills.
They’re also able to choose activities that match their mood. If your child’s feeling energetic, they’ll be physically active; if they’re tired, they may find a restful thing to do. Boredom also promotes resilience, as they learn to get through something that, to a child, can feel tough or stressful.

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