With the festive season and school holidays just around the corner, there will be lots of delicious foods to be eaten and snacks to be had. There are several ways you can help your child maintain a balanced diet over this time. Role modelling, eating in moderation and continuing to include vegetables and fruit, and through encouraging your children to be involved in the picking and preparation of their healthy snacks for days when your at work or heading on adventures out of the house, will help your child keep a balanced diet which improves sleep, energy and well being.
Over the school holidays it is easy to fall out of good sleep habits, going to bed late and sleeping late. Primary school children need 9-11 hours per night and teens 8-10 hours. As a general rule over the summer trying to get the right amount of sleep will help your child stay energised, focused and motivated. As school creeps nearer, going to bed at a regular time and waking up at a regular time will be helpful in re-establishing routines for a successful start to school.
Lots of kids stay active over the hotter months through swimming however including weight bearing exercise, such as running, jumping and hopping, will help to keep their bones and muscles strong and reduce injuries, especially if their running load increases as they go back to school. Children aged 5 – 17 years need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day and sometimes this is tricky in the hot weather of if you still have to work in the holidays. By involving your kids in planning adventures, exploring new parks and trying new experiences they will be much more motivated to get moving.
The school holidays are just that, holidays! It’s important to encourage your kids to devote time to having fun, doing the things they enjoy, recharging their batteries and hanging with friends. Redecorating their bedroom, creating an artwork or learning a new skill such as photography or skating (helmets and protective gear please!) will fill the lack of routine once given by school and help to keep kids happy and occupied.
The holidays are about family, and we often spend a lot of time re-connecting with family and family friends. Friendships outside of the school environment help to build your child’s resilience, but remember to keep up your child’s school connections. The new school year sometimes brings challenges when it comes to friendships, so have playdates with school friends at your house and in the community over the holiday period. This may help to reduce concerns about the return to school in the new year.