How to encourage children to avoid the summer slump

How to encourage children to avoid the summer slump

The summer holidays have arrived. A whole six weeks off school. A time to relax, recuperate and reenergise for the following year; a much needed refresh.

But what can this extended time off also mean? For many children, inactivity. Although the break from school is necessary for a child’s wellbeing, maintaining an active lifestyle is just as important for their physical and mental health.

 

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A recent study has found that the improvements in fitness levels made during the academic year were reversed during the summer holidays. The research was conducted at 14 schools on more than 400 eight and nine-year-old children. Shuttle run tests were completed by the children before and after the summer holidays to measure fitness levels. Prior to the holidays pupils were able to run an average of 810 yards (740 metres). Returning to school after the six weeks break, the average run was just 660 yards (605 metres) – a drop of 148 yards (135 metres). What’s more, when looking at the children’s cardio-respiratory fitness, it was found that the 80% boost in aerobic capacity that was gained during the school year was lost following the summer holidays.

Gone are the days it seems when children would be excited about spending the school holidays exploring the outdoors, playing games, going to the park and building dens. In an age of ever advancing technology, children’s attention has been turned towards screens. This slip into inactivity is damaging children’s health and wellbeing, specifically, according to the researchers, immediate damage to physical development, attention span and academic performance, and shortened lives.

But do the days in which summer breaks meant activity and exploration have to be gone? We can work together to remind children to look up from their IPads, TVs, phones and computers and embrace the wonders off screen.

 

  • Where to next?

  1. Choose a new area to walk around each week; make note of your weekly walking distance so you can calculate your summer total at the end of the six weeks.
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  • When I was your age… 

  1. Parents, why not teach your child your favourite game from childhood?
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  • Can you beat your personal best?

  1. Have a family triathlon week; walk, swim and cycle! Why not do it again in a couple of weeks? Switch up the route and see if you can travel any further.
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  • See the sights

  1. Become a tourist in your own city. It’s easy to forget how much there is to explore in the place that you live. Imagine your family are on holiday, brand new to the city, embrace your surroundings. Disrupting your regular routine and seeing your home with fresh eyes can be exciting and give you a new-found appreciation of the city in which you live.
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  • After dinner walk

  1. As it’s the holidays you may lose out on your daily walk to school. Switch it up to an evening stroll. Take advantage of the long and warm evenings.
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  • Join a holiday club

  1. Attending a holiday club enables your child to stay active, gain new skills, make new friends, build confidence and have fun! Our Ofsted registered Active Camps give children the opportunity to do exactly that, providing sports and activities during every school holiday at venues across the Midlands. To find out more about Active Camps visit https://www.aspire-sports.co.uk/active-camps
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  • Appreciate nature

  1. Enjoy a picnic in the park, take a trip to the seaside, explore the woods or do a local nature trial. It’s right outside, literally on your doorstep!
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  • Sweet treat

  1. Go fruit picking! You could even make your own jam or fruit crumble from your fresh fruits. A fun activity giving you a sweet reward at the end.
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  • Keep learning

  1. Is there a skill your child has always wanted to learn? Or something brand new they could try out? With 6 weeks of time on their hands, now’s the time to do it.
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  • Get involved

  1. Summer is jam-packed with local events. From fun runs, to cycle rides, to activity days, to walks, there’s countless opportunities to get involved and be part of the fun. Also, lots of the events are for charity so you can keep active whilst supporting a valuable cause.
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  • 10 minute bursts

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  2. Break up the 60 minutes of physical exercise that children need daily into 10 minute bursts. This way it can be a lot less daunting and more appealing.

 

A break from school doesn’t mean a break from activity or learning. 6 weeks is a long time, especially when you’re a child, make the most it. Enjoy a happy and healthy summer!