Article By: Dr. Evangelynn Honegger
Dr. Evangelynn Honegger is the Lead Clinic Physician at TRUEcare Integrative Medicine, an integrative naturopathic family medicine, acupuncture, and functional nutrition practice in Kirkland, WA.
Summer is finally here!
Sunshine? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Warm summer days? Check. All the popsicles you can eat? Also, check! Summer invites finding the perfect balance of having fun in nature as well as challenging us to stay engaged on days that call us inside. In many ways, summer can be the healthiest season — spending more time outdoors, being more active, and enjoying a summer bounty of fresh, healthy whole foods. As parents, we want to have helpful tools to keep every summertime moment healthy and safe.
We are popping into your feed with these quick tips and recommendations to present some basic summer safety knowledge and strategies to help keep summer exploration and the health of your kiddos at the top of your agenda.
1) Keep summer sweets in check.
Summer tends to bring out extra treats, but try to keep excessive sugar consumption in moderation and balance it with healthy and fresh whole foods to ramp-up optimal gut microbiome and immune systems. Balanced nutrition for kids is essential for focus, concentration, and overall health.
- Try out a new recipe with your child to encourage healthy cooking habits in the home and keep it fun.
- Have your kiddo pick out a new fruit or vegetable each week so the whole family can rate it and help keep trying new tastes, textures, and flavors exciting.
- Adding in a multivitamin and probiotic can help keep your child’s overall wellness in tip-top shape for summa-time! I highly recommend checking out Renzo’s Picky Eater Multivitamin & Yummy Tummy Probiotic.
2) Fun in the sun!
Enjoying the sunshine and outdoor activities is a highlight of summer. However, kids can easily become dehydrated, which can be detrimental to our little ones. The human body is made up of more than 60% water (our muscles and brain in particular are made up of over 75% water).
Electrolytes help run our bodies! They keep our energy up and help keep our body functioning during sports and day-to-day play. I always recommend electrolytes for the entire family. Not all electrolytes are created equal however, and many of those sugary sport drinks and juices we think are ultimately hydrating us can make dehydration worse. Drink up for optimal hydration!
- Favorite brands: Seeking Health Optimal Electrolytes, Cure Electrolyte Powders, Redmond’s Re-Lyte, Refreshing Mineralizing Tea.
- Infused water can be a fun and fancy way to help increase water intake — think cucumber and strawberries, basil and blueberries, mint and cucumber, watermelon and mint.
3) Summer playground safety.
Playgrounds are a great way to get kids out of the house and exercising during the summertime, but safety precautions should be taken to ensure a fun and safe experience.
- Always actively watch children while at the playground.
- Practice and help your kids notice "stranger danger" when out enjoying more public spaces.
- Friendly reminder to make sure slides, swings, and other playground equipment are cool to the touch first to prevent burns. Test the temperature of playground equipment.
- Be mindful of flip flops and open toed shoes/sandals on playgrounds when running around having all the fun.
4) Summer screen time tips.
Summer is finally here! And for many kids, that means more time for video games!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are some good rules for screen time with kids:
- Under 18 months – there should be no screens other than a video call with loved ones.
- Under 2 years – limit screen time to no more than 1 hour a day of high-quality programs like Sesame Street.
- Ages 2–5 years – screen time should be around an hour and be high-quality, educational shows that are made for young kids.
- Older kids – it all depends on the kid and what they are doing on the screens. But experts agree, limit screen time for other activities like spending time with friends or family, exercise, or sports.
5) Bullies don’t take a summer break.
Evolving social media and new technologies are changing the way the world communicates. We can be connected 24/7 communicating with friends or perceived friends online in real time... This also includes bullies.
More than 3.2 million US students are victims of bullying every year. Cyberbullying is of special concern in summer when kids often have more screen time and less supervision, but bullying also takes place at playgrounds, parks, and camps.
Bullying is upsetting and potentially harmful for all involved. It’s essential to talk regularly with your child about bullying. Check in about your kid’s emotional health or if you notice changes in their behaviors and communication styles. Ask open-ended questions about what they’ve seen or experienced themselves. Role-play scenarios so your child can practice how to prevent and safely stand up to bullying. Adults can all be powerful anti-bullying role models.
6) Ensure adequate sleep.
“It can’t be bedtime already! It’s still light outside!” Sound sleep can be challenging during the summer with late sunsets and early sunrises. Investing in blackout curtains can be a great option, along with maintaining consistent sleep schedules, keeping bedrooms cool, and staying active during the day. Inadequate sleep can impact kids’ immune systems, along with high stress.
7) Don’t get bugged out.
Do not let the fear of bug bites prevent you from enjoying outdoor time this summer. Protect naturally from mosquitoes, gnats, and other biting insects with some of these favorite non-toxic and non-greasy natural alternatives free of yucky toxins we don’t want to always be putting on our skin.
- Herbal Armour
- Protector Brand
Here’s to creating a safe and supportive summer for all kiddos in our lives and to being resilient, and having as much summer fun as possible!
Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.