Just a few decades ago, kids played outside all day long. The only thing that stopped the game was the street lights coming on, indicating the sun was going down and mom was expecting them home. My, how the times have changed. Now the average child spends a startling 7 and a half hours in front of a screen each day. According to the Center for the Disease Control, a child should get 60 minutes of physical activity per day; only one in every 3 children actually meet that recommendation.
What in the world can we do to get our kids up and moving again? Experts say that the key for helping children develop active lifestyles is to make it enjoyable, not a chore. Here are a few tips for using fun activities to get your kids away from the TV and doing something healthy.
- Capitalize on what your child is already interested in. If your child is intrigued by sharks and sea turtles, harness that interest by looking into beach camps that would have him running and exploring while engaging his fascination of marine life.
- Turn exercise into quality time. Look for fun activities that you and your child can do together. While jogging in place for 60 minutes a day will meet the quota, it will be so much easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle if your child is rock climbing while you belay them. Or taking Mommy and Me Yoga with you at your neighborhood studio.
- Make it a positive experience. Use exercise to boost your child’s self esteem. This will help them build a positive association with physical activity. Use detailed compliments to energize them, “I like how high you jump in your gymnastics class!”
- Set an example. It is a natural instinct in children to follow the habits of their parents. If your kids see you make health and fitness a priority, it will be a natural inclination for them as well.
- Make it a routine. Childhood development experts agree that children thrive best when they have a dependable routine. Make it part of the routine to take a brisk walk before dinner, or to go swimming on Saturday mornings. Incorporating physical activity into that routine really sets your children up for a healthy lifestyle!
Do you have any great tips for helping kids get excited about physical activity? Leave a comment and let us know! We love hearing from our readers.