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Healthy and budget friendly summer family fun

by on June 16, 2017 1:11 PM

Summer is a time to enjoy your child and have fun!  But this fun does not have to come at an exorbitant price.  

Many families may choose to travel, attend fairs and carnivals and frequent amusement parks and zoos. While these are all great opportunities for children and their families to enjoy one another’s company, many exciting summer opportunities and options are available at little or no cost to parents. Being cognizant of a well balanced lifestyle and the long-term impacts of establishing early healthy habits, parents may wish to focus on the three “E” budget friendly family goals this summer: eating, exercise, and emotional well-being. 


 The art of preparing and enjoying healthy, budget friendly well-balanced meals.

Eating on a budget can be both healthy and fun. Families can enjoy preparing fresh meals together made with fruits and vegetables from their own gardens or from local markets. Financial Advisor and son of culinary experts/restaurateurs, Joel Patierno reiterates the importance of healthy and fresh food within the families budgetary constraints.

Fortunate to have been raised in a family environment where cooking together as a family was valued and using fresh and local foods was of way of life, Patierno states that you do not have to be a chef to instill healthy eating and life values. In fact, “imparting financial savvy in your children can begin with something as simple as creating a budget for the grocery store or fitting dining out and special occasions into an overall family budget. Try to have fun with it.”


Activity and budget friendly fun all wrapped up in one. Pediatrician Dr. JoAnn Nickleach, MD,  said that “physical activity is very important in combating the growing epidemic of overweight children. Modeling and encouraging physical activity teaches and establishes healthy behaviors that they will utilize for the rest of their lives. It is also a great way to spend quality time together as a family.”


Summer is a time to recharge, free of charge! Simple daily practices, such as practicing gratitude with your child can have large long-term positive impacts. For example, when outside for a walk with your child, you could notice the warm weather and the calm. You may state that you feel happy and thankful for spending this time outside with your child and note your thankfulness for this gift. Simply recognizing the positive emotion then again, mentioning it at bedtime as you and your child review what you were grateful for that day.

Modeling gratitude, then asking your child to share as well will help establish this skill. In fact, according to Dr. Paul Jones, school psychologist, parents can select activities for their children that elicit gratitude because it has value in their family.  In summary, summer is a time to eat well, exercise, and recharge your children’s emotional batteries. Fortunately for parents, there are budget friendly ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle with your child this summer.

Dr. Jessica Dirsmith is a School Psychologist for the State College Area School District and also teaches in the School Psychology department at the Penn State.


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