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Summer vacation is great for getting a rest from your routine, but it is also a wonderful time to start new routines. When planning your family’s vacation this year, find ways to work in physical activity whether you are staying at home or traveling. You may find yourself starting new healthy habits and discovering new loves.
Prying your kids away from their electronic devices to go do something fun or new can be a pain. It is actually easier to just leave your devices at home or only use them occasionally during long road trips or plane rides. You will get some whining, but quitting cold turkey is less painful than having to deal with poutiness every time you ask your kids to turn off their electronic devices.
Now is also a good time to evaluate your own smart phone usage. If you are checking your phone constantly, you will be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your family and to be present in the moment.
During down times or while traveling, make it a goal to try out things like books, board games, audio books, music, and car games. Having fun alternatives available can help reduce whining.
Active doesn’t have to mean exhausting. Particularly if you are traveling or changing time zones, it is easy to get burnt out fast. Plan some time for more leisurely activities so you can all recharge your batteries. This is particularly important if you have a wide range of ages in your family. Younger children will have a hard time keeping up with the older kids and will do better if they don’t miss their naptimes. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can also help everybody in the family feel sharper and less cranky.
You will also need to balance different skill and maturity levels. Your older children might want to spend the day rafting, but the younger ones might be more excited about playing in the pool. Look for ways to compromise or occasionally break off into smaller groups.
You never know what activities you will love or what will inspire your children. This is a great time to try out something new. It can be something big like whitewater rafting or small like inline skating. Remember that your kids are watching you and they will take cues from your attitude. Acting brave, even when you don’t feel it, will teach them how stretch outside their comfort zone and build confidence. And show them that when they mess up or look a little goofy trying to master a new skill, it is okay to have a good laugh about it.
When we think about being active we often think about sports or outdoor activities. But there are also opportunities for those who may not enjoy the great outdoors.
Here are a few ideas that have a little something for everybody:
Allowing kids to help plan and decide on vacation activities is a good way to get everybody excited. Kids are more likely to participate if they have been able to help make choices. They might also have ideas you hadn’t thought of.