Now that kids are back at school, it’s a little more challenging to keep them active. Most of the school day requires them to sit still and focus on learning. But kids, just like adults, need activity and movement to stimulate brain function and to keep our bodies healthy. It is recommended that children get 60 minutes of moderate to heavy activity each day and limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day. Here are 7 tips to keep your kids active:
1. Encourage play. Back in the day before all of the current technology was available, kids used to play outside. In my neighborhood, it was a very normal thing during the summer to go outside in the morning and not go home until dark and just eat lunch at whichever friend’s house you happened to be at that day. But times have changed and this doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. Encourage your kids to get outside and play for a little bit each day and do something active like kick a ball around or go to the park with a friend or ride a bike (with a helmet, of course). Classic games like hide and seek, tag, and follow the leader are so much fun!
2. Limit sedentary screen time. Screen time of any type needs to be limited. I think we all know of much of a time waster social media and television can be. And many of today’s video games can keep kids entertained for hours. Sedentary habits learned as children often lead to sedentary adults. Recommendations are limiting total screen time to less than 2 hours a day but this can be adjusted to fit your family’s or child’s needs.
3. Play with them. Play time with children is great for them and for you. As adults, we sometimes forget how much fun playing can be. The bonding time this gives your child is truly priceless. I know there are dishes and laundry to be done but your child is much more important. Take the time to play and have fun with them!
4. Recreational sports. Many communities have recreational sports leagues so kids have the opportunity to play soccer, volleyball, basketball, or baseball. For younger children, these teams should not be as competitive and a great way for more non-athletic children to have fun and get some additional activity. Be sure you’re out there cheering for them and suporting them!
5. Active video games. Although screen time for children needs to be limited each day, certain video games provide more physical activity. Dance games, bowling, tennis or other active games help with coordination and provide lots of movement in a fun way. This is a great alternative for those days when the weather doesn’t permit playing outside.
6. Try new activities. Take your kids to try new active experiences. Try something like roller skating, ice skating, or rock climbing. Not only will this allow you to spend more time with your child, it creates lasting memories of a fun experience.
7. Allow children to help with active chores. There’s plenty of yard work or gardening that children of any age can help with. While you may not want them pushing the lawn mower, you can have them sweep sidewalks or rake leaves. Walking the dog every day helps keep children and pets active as well as teaches responsibility in having a pet.
Remember that setting a good example for your children is so important. They notice how active or inactive you are and this is what they learn as normal activity. So get out and play with your kids and see how good it makes you feel!
How do you keep your kids active?