Are your children getting enough exercise?
As a parent in this day and age, one can only dream about the idea of letting one’s child run freely through their local neighbourhood, thereby allowing their bodies to be naturally challenged with the exercise of play.
Rather, the unfortunate reality is, once your child is picked up from school and brought home, lunch is had then the TV is switched on and the last few hours of daylight disappear in a cloud of computer games and over the heavily processed nibbles that accessorize these activities.
This gets even the most concerned, and well-meaning parent as they just stand helpless, scratching their head – wondering how on earth they are supposed to make exercise and carrot sticks more attractive in comparison to consoles, Disney programmes and choc biscuits!
I think we can all agree that we don’t need to look too far to find proof that the health of many, is in danger, with unhealthy lifestyles accounting for a huge part of the cause. The following link provides an insight as well as stats, relating to the issue as it pertains to kids. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2018-19-school-year
You might be thinking: My kids aren’t obese – so why should I be concerned?
And yes…. Your kids might be ok and you may be doing all you can to keep things that way. But in a world where walking is limited, and cars, lifts and buses literally destroy our chances of getting as much natural exercise as possible, we need to make even more of an effort to make physical activity part of our day and even more so in our children’s days.
This is quite important as studies have shown that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults.
“The UK guidelines for children and young adults include at least 60 minutes of activity each day of the week.”
So…. as parents how can we get our kids moving?
The fab news is exercise can take many forms and can also be a lot of fun! With a little imagination, you can very easily include some fun physical activities into your parenting style. Here are 5 fun parenting tips to inject more exercise into your children's daily schedule.
Lead by doing
You’d need to be that role model. Children, especially the younger ones, naturally emulate their parents. It would be a good idea to make sure that you as the parent are looking after your own health and ensuring that physical activities are a priority in your life.
Do it together
A great idea would be to find opportunities to work physical activities into the free time you and your child have together. This would be killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. This would also make it much more fun for you both. In these times where we find it more and more challenging to find the time to spend quality time with our children, what better way than to be active together – especially since leaving your child to play in the local area alone isn’t really an option.
Think of activities you can do with your child – or ones they can do alone, that would be a lot of fun. Music to dance to is always a great activity, playing tag is a classic activity that kids love and they can burn enough energy to power a barbecue in the process! The general idea is to ensure they are having fun as they play. To this end, try to provide them with toys and equipment that enable them to be active while having fun.
Examples of such toys could be: skipping ropes (depending on their age), hoops, bikes, tricycles, scooters, bats, balls and other such pieces that will leave them no choice but to (happily) move around and be active.
Be their biggest cheerleader
We know that support, encouragement and lots of positive reinforcements will always boost self-esteem in anyone, especially in a child. A good idea would, therefore, be, to look for activities that will. Cheer your child on - whether they win or lose and let them know, you are their number one fan, no matter what. If they feel good about themselves, they will be more likely to take part in that activity again.
Strike the balance
It is without a doubt, that we need to limit the time our kids spend watching TV and playing games on their consoles and other devices. This will, however, need to be done in a way that doesn’t come across as if your child feels he/she is being deprived. There may have to be some discussions and negotiating in the first instance. But once the understanding has been made clear to your child and they realise the benefits and the favourable options, as well being made to understand that such activities aren’t being banned, but just reduced, they should be fine.
As far as negotiating goes, the terms and finer details of the deal would vary from household to household. But generally, any form of screen time should preferably be after their homework has been completed and when the daily physical activity is finished. Bearing that in mind, you could be looking at the evening or on Saturday mornings when you (and your partner) are looking to get a bit more bed time in.
Including physical activity into your family’s routine will definitely help you all feel better. You will get more family bonding time in and have a lot of fun doing so as a result. This will ultimately instil in your children lifelong habits and healthy attitudes toward exercise and physical activity. What a healthy outlook!
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