Physical activity is so important for children, for their physical and mental development. The CDC recommends that kids get at least an hour of exercise every day. Kids should also avoid inactivity for periods of two hours or more during waking hours. Now take a moment to reflect on your children’s daily activity.
When they’re in school you can rest assured that they are getting up and moving at least every two hours – probably more – because of class changes and recess or physical education, but what can you do to help them when they get home from school or on days when they don’t have school?
Do you encourage your kids to be physically active at home? If you don’t, try these 5 ways to help get your kids physically active once they get home from school or during the summer time.
Make activity with your family part of the everyday routine, part of your lifestyle. Whether it’s daily chores that your kids are required to do before sitting down with their video games or taking a family walk in the evening, do something daily that keeps everyone moving.
Sure, there are school sports, but not every kid has the opportunity or even wants to play sports at school. Try keeping some different sports equipment at your home for your children to explore and play with. Have a mitt and a baseball, basketball, badminton and a net, or anything that you might enjoy teaching your kids to play.
If you find that your kids enjoy spending time in front of the TV more than they do outside, turn on a video that gets them moving. There are so many fitness videos for children, from yoga to kick-boxing to dancing. Ask them what kind of activity they want to do, or learn how to do, and get the video going. They might have more fun if you do it with them.
While you’re making dinner or cleaning house, blast the music and throw a “dance party”. Let your children be creative and make up new moves or spin them around and dance with them to get them excited about dancing.
Teach your kids different ways to move, like crab-walking, frog-hopping or bear-crawling. Ask them to get you something or to go somewhere in the house, but they have to walk in the way that you taught them. Or tell them to do that every time they go to the bathroom or get a snack. They can even do relay races with the different movements. Just make sure they know this is an at-home activity. The last thing you need is them crab-walking to the bathroom the next time you go out to eat.
If you are concerned about your child’s level of activity, schedule a check-up with their pediatrician, and they can give you recommendations for activities and how much time a day your child should be active. Good habits start a young age.
Start modeling active behaviors as a family and help set them up for being physically fit into their adulthood. Plus, physical activity at an early age helps prevent childhood obesity too.