Ester Marsh: Children need active summers

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2011

Q. With school out how can I keep my child active through the summer?
A. Amazingly, the summer is here. The school years fly by. Next year, I have another senior at West High school (one just graduated) and my youngest is going to South East Middle school. Where does the time go?
And this summer is flying by, too. My oldest is pretty active. She is a camp counselor at our JF Hurley Summer Camp where we want the kids to stay busy, move and have fun.
My rising senior is very active. Besides working, she runs three times a week, swims twice a week, does push ups, rides horses, and so on.
My rising 6th-grader is in AAU track and is extremely busy. So, I am confident that my children will get enough exercise and activity through the summer.
But you know what? It takes planning. You cannot simply expect your child to be active, especially the ones who tend to gravitate to the TV or videogames.
It is hard to be there for all of them, being a full-time working mom and a volunteer AAU track coach. Fortunately, both my daughters have a job and cars to drive them to and from them.
For any parent it takes planning to keep your child moving. You can schedule camps, volunteer opportunities, have them participate in competitive sports.
If you give them the “option,” I believe any child will get lazy if you let them. Even my competitive track star can become a couch potato if I let him.
Being children of a health and fitness director does not give them that option if I can help it. I want them to be healthy and build a strong base for a healthy lifestyle they can apply for the rest of their lives.
Beside our YMCA, we also belong to Eaman Pool and my children enjoy spending quality, active fun time at that outdoor pool. Both my daughters drive, which makes life a lot easier on a working family.
There are so many wonderful camps where your child can stay active and be safe while you are at work or just want them to experience these wonderful opportunities. So check out the great camps out there — The YMCA, Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department, Piedmont Players, WaterWorks, Rowan Museum, Catawba sport camps — just to name a few.
Or take them to the pool, Dan Nicholas Park or the Rowan Public Library, to keep them active and involved. What their teacher does during the school year (thank you) is our job through the summer, whether we plan it or actually do it.
Keep their bodies, spirits and minds challenged and balanced.
Ester Marsh, ACSM Cpt