Keeping Kids on Track
At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of all ages and backgrounds with programs and services that help them develop healthy lifestyles. Speak with your YMCA staff about how the Y can help you and your family stay physically active all summer long. Also, consider other ways you can get up and get moving together. Here are a few ideas: Have a Ball: Tossing a football or hitting the tennis courts is a great way to engage kids in physical activity while squeezing in some family time. Or try going out to the backyard or a park with your kids and keeping a beach ball up in the air for as long as possible. Even throwing a baseball back and forth will send you jogging to recover the ball from time to time. More than 80 percent of children in the U.S. do not get the recommended amount of physical activity for good health—60 minutes a day, six days a week. It is important for children and families to make good use of extra free time during the summer by increasing the frequency and duration of physical activity and limiting screen time. Add Some Wheels: Most activities that incorporate the use of wheels—like riding scooters or skateboarding—offer a mix of vigorous activity and periods of rest. Get your helmets on and take a bike ride as a family. Plot your course so you have to tackle small hills or ride into the wind part of the way. Walk, Jog or Run: Find a community event such as a fundraising walk or fun run that the entire family can enjoy. Setting a family goal tied to such an event can provide the motivation you need to stay active. Also, July is Parks and Recreation Month, so it is a perfect time to visit a nearby park and take advantage of walking or biking trails. Time away from school can contribute to the academic disparity that exists between children from low-income households, who often begin school less prepared, and their peers. Without intervention, the gap—known as the Achievement Gap—widens, and kids from low-income backgrounds fall further behind. As a leading nonprofit for youth development, the Y works to help all kids reach their fullest potential, nurturing their positive social-emotional, cognitive and physical development. Through the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program, the Y provides literacy and enrichment opportunities so children can build their academic skills, develop greater confidence in their abilities and get a strong start to the school year. Studies show that by fifth grade, children from low-income households are on average two to three grade levels behind in reading compared to kids from middle-income households. In contrast, children who participated in the Y’s six-week Summer Learning Loss Prevention program in 2014 gained between two and three months in reading skills. Ninety-nine percent of caregivers agreed the program helped increase children’s reading skills, and 98 percent said it improved children’s attitudes about school. In partnership with schools, YMCAs across the U.S. served more than 2,100 kids through the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program last year. Other summer youth programs offered at Ys also incorporate these principles. To learn more about Y programs that help kids learn, grow and thrive during the summer, visit ymca.net/youth-development.