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Keep the Kids Active to Ward Off Summer Blues

A break from hectic routines can be a good thing for anyone, including children.

But as days at home turn into weeks, boredom sets in — and the focus and concentration needed for school start to fade out.

One fun way to keep the mind sharp: exercise. Several studies have shown that physical fitness doesn’t just help the body. For kids, it can also help the brain stay in shape, improving cognitive function and expanding their memory.

But to keep the kids interested, it has to be fun. So how to turn around the late-summer stupor? Try these tips:

Tap out on the TV

Limit TV watching (and other screen time) to roughly two hours a day for teens — and less for children under age 12. Switching off the screens can help improve kids’ moods, enhance their relationships with others and perhaps ward off potential problems like anxiety, depression and inattentiveness.

Instead, have your kids earn their leisure time by having them do jumping jacks or sit-ups during commercials. If there are multiple children present, have them play Simon Says or Duck, Duck, Goose.

Family games, for the win

Video games can be fun but, again, moderation is key. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends parents keep TV sets and other internet devices out of kids rooms. They also recommend making a family media plan with reasonable but firm rules to limit gaming time.

If your kids are interested in video games, get them off the couch by purchasing active, movement based games like Cranium Hullabaloo, which is a fast-paced version of Twister.

Get active together!

Does your family time revolve around watching TV together? Being together is good but being active together is better. Staying fit as a family helps children feel more comfortable with an active lifestyle, which can help them build healthy habits for life.

Modify your routine with activities like walking together in the park, playing basketball or tennis, or swimming.