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Here are the health tips for your kids this long holiday

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 A father is giving his son a ride on his shoulders through the park on a foggy fall day.Photo: Courtesy

 There have been some concerns about the prolonged end of year school holidays. Parents have wondered how to keep their kids occupied for the two long months that will elapse before schools reopen next year.

This shouldn’t really be the case, you only need a bit of creativity to come up with plenty of enjoyable activities for the whole family. If you get it right, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you find yourself doing the school run yet again.

For starters, kids need a break from school. And they deserve a long enough break so they can unwind and engage in other non-academic activities that are part of their development.

If you are bringing up your kids to be wholesome, then you should welcome the idea of a prolonged break from studies. This is the time to discover and explore other talents that they might have, and nurture additional life skills that are a must for a fast-paced world.

You must not forget their health. Whatever holiday plans you come up with, healthy activities must be part of the game. A simple way to start is to review their prevailing health, and work out what needs to be improved, or just maintained.

Sit them down and come up with a health plan together, this will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility of whatever initiatives you suggest. Then set some deadlines for the health goals, and create some reward points along the way.

Promote and encourage healthy eating. It’s so easy for kids to end up with junk food every day of the week for the whole holiday season.

Allow the occasional indulgence, but moderate this with intervals of real fresh and healthy foods. We are talking of whole-meal foods, greens and vegetables, non-processed white meats, and grains among others. All freshly prepared, and get them to give a hand with the cooking.

Get them to wash down the meals with water and fresh juices, rather than carbonated soft drinks. This will reduce their risks of metabolic diseases in the long run.

Ensure most of their day is spent outdoors. You are not breeding couch potatoes, whose only activities is flipping through entertainment channels and playing computer games.

Their muscles, bones, cardiac and respiratory systems need some physical challenges for optimal function. You don’t need expensive club memberships. The backyard will do, or a nearby park or public place. Or get them into the countryside where open grounds are aplenty, and there’s lots to do without trying too hard.

If your kids are creeping towards puberty, give them a chat about sex, drugs and alcohol. Monitor their time out, and agree on some limits.

Check if they are due for any vaccines, like the HPV vaccine for teens. If necessary, get them a medical check-up just before schools reopen. Good health is a recipe for good school performance.

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