Happy Monday – or as happy as a Monday can be!
Mondays are grab bag days so posts on Mondays will be grab bags as well. Today we are looking at a topic that many of us are facing – couch-bound children entranced by electronic devices…
While these devices have transformed our lives in ways that weren’t even imaginable a decade ago, electronics have quickly become children’s activity of choice. Our kids don’t want to get up and go outside –unless they can bring their device and there’s wireless available. As parents, we have to push them to let go of the device and get active. For example, my daughter would rather look at YouTube on tv or tablet than do almost anything else. It’s gotten worse recently, and since she is gaining some weight, this situation hits close to home.
According to The National Association for Sports and Physical Education:
- School aged kids should avoid more than two hours of inactivity.
- They should engage in extracurricular physical activity for a total of 1 hour each day and that should be broken up into some form of physical activity for 15 minutes or more several times throughout the day.
Regular physical activity has decreased while child obesity rates are at epidemic levels and many kids are overweight. In fact, the percentage of obese kids age 6–11 years old is 18%, and adolescents aged 12–19 years is nearly 21%. There are mote cases of Type 2 diabetes, and some are dying before the age of 18 due to obesity related conditions. Much of this is attributed to the lack of regular movement and way too much junk food.
Now, this doesn’t mean that your child needs to be involved in 5 different sports every day. They just need to be more active and sit down to watch TV, play video games, or chat with friends online less.
Sound fitness practices always begin at home. When parents implement sound strategies, like, those listed below, they ensure a much healthier present and future for their kids.
At Home Fitness
If your child isn’t interested in sports or group activities, consider some home physical activities that you can engage your child in. Also, keep in mind that kids model their parent’s behavior.
The best solution is to make it a family affair, where everyone is involved, and where it isn’t portrayed as a chore, but, as something fun to do.
- After dinner walks. Encourage your kids to take a walk with you around the block after dinner each night. Bring the dog or make it an opportunity to spend quality time with the kids.
- Nature hunts. Another fun way to encourage fitness is to create nature hunts where you will go out to look for specific things. A list can be made each week of things to find and the cool prizes for the winners. Depending on the age of the kids, this can also encourage child development; for example, for younger kids, the list might include black rocks or purple leaves, and the search may provide both positive fitness and cognitive results.
- Household chores. Provide your children with a list of chores they need to do everyday. Simple tasks such as vacuuming, picking up the family room, picking up all their toys, etc. are perfect for those short 15-minute bursts of activity.
- Play with your kids. Make time every day to play games with your kids. Depending on their age, the activities may vary, but, for young children, playing hide and seek or tag in the yard is a good choice. For older children, playing tennis or baseball are both good options.
- Allow your kids time to socialize. Give your kids time everyday to go out and play with their friends. Socializing is important for proper development and is guaranteed to get your kids moving.
- Set a good example! Children are followers. If daddy runs every day, chances are your son/daughter will want to run too. Go for a bike ride every afternoon and make sure your kids see how enthusiastic you are. It’ll get them involved and excited to be doing something just like you.
Extracurricular activities are a great way to get your kids the recommended level of physical activity and without much effort from you. Consider enrolling them in an after-school club or sport, such as the ones listed below.
- Karate is a great option because it’s a full body workout, lasts at least an hour, improves their self-esteem, and hosts competitions.
- Gymnastics is another sport that works the entire body and helps improve a child’s confidence.
- Swimming, regardless of whether or not it is on a team, is one of the top-rated workouts for children. The sport is easy on the joints but still works the entire body. Swim teams also have competitions that are great for confidence building and social growth.
- Baseball combines cardiovascular exercise with strength training and is a highly social sport. Your child will learn social skills, such as being a team player as well as getting active.
- Dancing is a sport that works the entire body and helps with memory, social skills, and overall physical health.
Getting your children to live a healthier lifestyle and become more active is not all that difficult to do. It just takes a leader, an encourager, and a listener.
Make sure your children see you being active, encourage them to get involved in a sport or go out with their friends, and listen to what they’re telling you about their body and their interests.
I am working on this with my daughter – I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have any tips for getting your kids more active, write them in the comments below.
Loving Life – The Reboot!