Strategies for Keeping Kids Active Over the Summer


Children are supposed to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. With all the free time in the summer you would think that would be easy, but parents are often fighting to get kids out from behind a screen and off the couch to do something active. At Gentle Professional Foot Care, we know that kids who have an inactive summer are much more likely to be injured playing fall sports when they return to school. Below are some suggestions to keep them moving:

Limit Screen Time—not allowing texting, video games and computer activities to go on 24/7 will make children more interested in other activities. Set firm restrictions on when and how long screen time can take place. For example, you may limit it to no more than 2 hours a day or only at certain times like right before dinner or after camp. Encourage more socializing (which can lead to more activities) by having your child not use the phone at meals and when friends and family are visiting.

Find a New Activity—explore sports and other physical activities like hiking or nature clubs, swimming and diving or dance classes in your area and encourage your child to try something new. If your child plays one sport year-round, it’s a good idea to give those muscles and bones a rest to prevent overuse injuries such as heel pain, Sever’s Disease and stress fractures. Choose an activity that is for a limited number of days or weeks and doesn’t require a big investment in equipment to see if your child likes it first.

Try the Family Plan—plan lots of active endeavors to do as a family. Make bike rides around the neighborhood, swimming in the local lake or pool, sightseeing in a nearby town or hiking the trails in a state park all part of your weekly leisure time together. Being active will not seem like a chore when it becomes fun time together as a family.

Build Excitement for Fall Sports—if your child is looking forward to a fall sport, help them prepare by doing conditioning and stretching exercises over the summer that are particularly suited for the sport they want to do. Encourage them to look up what famous athletes do in the offseason and consider sending them to a sports camp where they can hone their skills and stay in shape.

If any summer activities seem to cause your child foot or ankle pain, make an appointment at our Venice office (941-493-7999) so that our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, can examine their feet and make sure there are no issues well before the start of the fall sports season.