The Secret to Getting Your Kids Active!
Early physical activity sets kids up for an active life. Teaching your youngster how to incorporate physical activity into daily life today prepares your child for a healthy future. The American Heart Association recommends that kids enjoy at least an hour of moderate physical activity every day. This daily physical activity offers a range of benefits, helping children control their weight, reduce blood pressure and diabetes risk, and boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. Finding ways to incorporate physical activity into daily life will allow your child to get fit and have fun at the same time.
Let the Child Choose
Rather than forcing physical activity upon your child, let the child decide how he or she wants to get active. Whether your kindergartner wants to run around the playground with friends, your 10-year-old wants to take up soccer, or your high schooler wants to try out for the dance team, there are a variety of ways kids can stay active. If your youngster is stumped, offer some ideas that focus on your child's interests. Physical activity doesn't always have to be a team sport. A jump rope, a backyard obstacle course, or a bike ride through the neighborhood are other ways for your kid to be active. The key is encouraging activities that your child truly loves, which promotes physical activity for the long term.
A monotonous hour of daily physical activity will eventually bore your child. Mix up the activities so that your youngster is always doing something he or she loves. For example, you might supplement twice-a-week basketball practice with other non-competitive activities. Visit a local gym where your kid can jump on trampolines and practice somersaults. Go to the pool for a summer afternoon of splashing and playing. Gather the neighborhood kids for a game of tag. Using some creativity will help you keep your child interested in physical activity and help him or her find those activities that he or she loves.
Get Friends Involved
Everything is more fun when friends are involved. Whenever you can, incorporate friends into physical activity. After school pickup, meet some friends at a nearby park where kids can run, jump, kick, and play, burning off that pent-up energy. Host a weekly pickup basketball game in your driveway. Turn some music on and invite the neighbors over for a dance party in your basement. Organize relay races in your neighborhood park.
Establish a Routine
When physical activity does not feel forced and, instead, is simply a part of everyday life, your child will embrace the opportunity to get active. He or she will not feel like this activity is a punishment or chore when you make exercise part of your daily life. Perhaps you always do something active after school with your first-grader. You go on a walk around the block with your preschooler after dinner. Your teen goes on a bike ride with friends before dinner. By making physical activity as routine as eating and sleeping, your kid won't think twice about getting — and staying — active.
Physical activity opportunities abound for kids. In order to make this activity something that your child loves, focus on choosing a myriad of activities that are inspired by your child's interests. Remember, physical activity should be fun, creative, and social, which will help your child stay interested in it for the long term.