Summer Tips for Having Fun and Staying Healthy

The lazy days of summer just about here officially but the wave is spreading across the country quickly as school ends for another year. Before we know it, warm weather will be upon all of us and summer plans will be in full swing.

My favorite part of the summer is the change of pace from the school year. I try to adopt as much of the “lazy” from the motto “lazy days of summer” and encourage my family to as well. It’s not that we’re couch potatoes…far from it! Slowing down, being “lazy”, is more of a state of mind…a way to refuel and take some time to just go where the wind blows and unclog our minds from the months of road dust that our more hurried lives had deposited. We just change the pace – exchanged scheduled for go with the flow; plugged in for unplugged; indoors for outdoors.

The unique elements of the summer are the prefect backdrop for this much needed change of pace. At the same time, what makes the summer so enticing can also cause some health issues if we don’t take a few extra precautions – which would most definitely kill the summery mood we’re trying to create. To help us all have fun and stay safe and healthy at the same time, I’ve pulled together a few tips, conveniently called “Lazy Summer”: 

Lube up! The sun is stronger this time of year and puts everyone at risk for burning. It only takes one bad sunburn to set us up for later melanoma so lube up often and liberally everyone in your family 2 months and older with SPF 15-30. Make sure the bottle is labelled UVA and UVB so you’re family is well covered against both types of harmful sun rays.

Always hydrate. Heat illnesses are serious and can creep on kids and adults quickly. We lose salt quickly when we sweat so when playing sports in the heat, keep sports drinks on hand. For other sunny, hot days, water, water, water for all. If anyone seems flushed, seaty and overly warm, get that person out of the sun and heat, hydrate and call a doctor if you have any concerns.

Zap those bugs. Biting bugs can carry infection so be sure to use insect repellent on everyone in your family over 2 months of age. DEET can be used in concentrations of 10-30% and is the gold standard for keeping away viruses such as West Nile Virus. Picaridin is another alternative. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a newer product and can be used in kids 3 years of age and older.

You only have one head so protect it! If someone is in motion on a bike, skateboard or even jet ski, they need to protect the head. Having a “no helmet, no bike/skakeboarding/etc policy” and wearing a helmet yourself goes a long way in reinforcing this rule.

Swim smartly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all kids 4 and older take swim lessons. However, this isn’t a replacement for adult supervision near water but a way to assist children in becoming more water safe as they get older and stronger.

Unplug! Use the summer to unplug and get outdoors. Untethered by technology, you’ll all see the world differently and find yourselves unwinding in ways impossible to during the school year.

Mowing is for adults. Lawn mowers injuries are incredibly serious and avoidable. Kids younger than 12 should never operate push mowers and kids under 16 should never operate ride-ons. And, kids should never ride on mowers with anyone else…ever!

Move and groove every day! Take advantage the long days of summer to get everyone moving more and every day.  You may even find a few activities that can carry over into the next school year. Don’t underestimate the power of a family walk once a day or time outside tossing a ball. Any movement is better than no movement.

Eat for the season. The summer is a goldmine for wonderful, fresh fruits and vegetables that make eating new and exciting, even for kids. Take advantage of that to find new, healthy foods for your family that can carry over into the fall and winter, and help balance out the yummy summer ice cream treats. Keeping cut up fresh fruit on the counter and veggie sticks is a great way to encourage healthy snacking and help your kids try new foods, too.

Remember to focus on fun and family! Family time can be a precious commodity in the school year so grab it while you can this summer and just go for broke with fun being the only rule.

My family and I plan to have a fantastic “Lazy Summer” and will be offline spending some much needed quality time together for a while. I’ll be back online soon in time for back to school.

In the meantime, enjoy the “Lazy Summer” with your family and remember, when in doubt, unplug.