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Jul16th2012

Child Sense: Balance fun and relaxation this summer in order to keep your kids healthy and happy

It is common during summer to relax the typical school-year rules – essentially extending “vacation rules” to an entire season. As we all know, relaxing rules too much or for too long can be counterproductive. By keeping your kids active with a variety of interesting pursuits – suited to their sensory type – as well as encouraging balanced eating and enjoying outdoor fun, you will be able to ensure your child stays health, fit and makes the most of the summer holiday time.

To a tactile child, relaxed summer rules mean excess. And, their feelings can be greatly hurt when the inevitable “no” comes to having that second ice-cream, a third hour of video games or another bottle of soda pop. Trying partnering the treat with a healthy activity for your tactile child.

“We can get an ice-cream, and we’ll walk to the ice cream shop,” combines both the treat and an activity your tactile child will enjoy with you. Pick one a good distance away, or park the car several blocks away. You can pair an extra 30 minutes of TV or video games with an hour of good outdoor exercise, such as shooting hoops, riding bikes or soccer practice. Go summer fruit picking, help them plant a vegetable garden or help pick out the groceries, making it their “job” to take part in healthy food picking.

Taste and smell children find transitions hard, and can tend to feel a little lonely during the holidays. Their friends may be away or their older sibling at camp. This is when arranging playdates can help to keep them active – plus, you can more easily enforce a rule of no TV when guests are over. Taste and smell children will tend to respond well to animals, and they will be responsible about taking care of them. Enroll your child in an animal-based camp like horse riding, learning about zoo animals or dog training. If you have a friend who is going on holidays for a few weeks, offer to look after their pet. This will give your taste and smell child a regular and special activity, but also they will enjoy caring for and exercising of another living creature.

Auditory children like routine, and when the schedule is off, they can tend to feel a little off too. This is why it is important to maintain a schedule for them, especially for meals and sleep. The auditory world can be overwhelming, as it is the only sense we can’t turn off. This means that when other areas of an auditory child’s life are chaotic, they can easily feel overwhelmed. Be sure to have a supply of quiet games, such as the old-fashioned board games, model making, craft activities like painting masks or making jewelry or simply reading or listening to stories on tape. Get outdoors in the quiet of nature every day for a simple walk or “explore,” or kick a ball in the park.

Visual children are easily mesmerized by the TV and video games, and can find it hard to find more natural ways to entertain themselves. Get them out of the house to visit and see friends. Classes work well for visual children, as they tend to favor more structured learning, and within that structure they can find it easier to be creative and exploratory. Have them try new activities by signing them up to half day or short week courses in art, craft, woodworking, sports, martial arts etc. Often the local library or museum or gallery will offer kids classes at reasonable prices.

It’s good to relax during summer, but balance matters. Combine relaxed rules with new experiences, to keep our kids healthy and active, ready to tackle the new school year.

Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com

2012, Priscilla Dunstan

See more at www.childsense.com

By PRISCILLA DUNSTAN

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