Children should be receiving at least one hour of physical activity per day. That is an absolute minimum. When I was a kid, we spent so much time running around outside that it was never a matter of only 1 hour, but now, with phones, TV’s and iPads, getting a child to play outside can be a challenge.
So how do we get children more active in their everyday lives? Having raised 4 children of my own, I will recommend some of my top tips.
Learn What they’re really interested in
You might be a hardcore baseball fan with dreams of your child becoming the next big star, but please do not let your projections define their future. They may go to baseball merely to please you, however, they will not enjoy it if inside their true passion is for tennis, for example. Never force your child to do something that they truly don’t want to do.
I encourage you to try all the various sports you will find, even those that may seem strange to you. Listen to your child and listen to them, see what they respond to best and positively encourage them to continue with this.
I would not suggest comparing your child to another,”Billy is so good at basketball, he plays everyday, why can’t you be like him?” This is an almost sure way to receive your child to give up basketball entirely. Nobody enjoys being criticised.
Teach by being
It’s not surprising that kids look up to their parents. If you tell them,”you need to exercise every day” but do not do it yourself, they may not be as eager to listen to you. See if they can join you during your practices, be it morning yoga on the beach or a bicycle ride in the evening. They will enjoy spending time with you and it will somehow feel more natural to them to be busy if you’re active too.
Got a dog?
For those who have a dog in the house, see if you can get your child to be the main dog-walker of the house. Make them feel important, saying that it is”their” puppy or that they do this job the best. Half an hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening – a great way to get them moving.
If you do not have a puppy, encourage your child to walk or cycle everywhere. Not only is it better for the environment, something that I am quite enthusiastic about, but it will also keep them healthy.
For those who have a garden in your home, why not build a tree house? Kids love making things, and when it’s done, they will stay active by climbing it. If you can’t have a tree house, why not hang some ropes on the thicker branches and encourage your children to climb them? You can even turn it into a game, such as treasure hunting, with one of the hints being on top of that rope.
Do something different
Very few people like regular, especially kids who can’t sit still for very long. If you make them do ballet everyday for 6 months, they may get bored and lose interest. However, if you vary things every now and then, they won’t ever know what is coming next and will get excited by new experiences.
Make it a fun day out. Your kids are going to see new places and stay active in the process.
Did you know that many gyms now have courses for children? They are done in game-form, such as jumping around obstacles. This permits kids to have fun since they don’t see it as a chore, and get healthy at the same time. Not only that, but if you go together to do your own thing, you will teach by example that going to the gym is a good thing to do.