Five Parenting Tips: How To Help Your Child Get More Exercise
Children with healthy body and spirit
Was parenting easier 40 years ago?
As a parent in the new millennium, my big dream is about the idea of parenting in a world where dads and moms can let their kids to go outside their home and run freely through the neighbourhood. A world where streets are safe and kids can run outdoors and their bodies naturally challenged with the exercise of play.
Today unfortunately, before the slam of the car door fades and the backpack drops on the floor, the television (TV) is turned on and the rest few hours of daylight disappear in a haze of over processed snack foods and video games.
In our days all well-meaning parent can often stand helpless, asking their selves how to compete against instant gratification and marketing genius. Exercise and carrot sticks have a hard time competing with Play Stations, video Games in Smart Phones, SpongeBob, potato chips and other snacks.
The evidences is all around us. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the health of too many Countries in the World are in danger because of unhealthy lifestyles.
The latest data from the National Centre for Health Statistics in USA show that thirty percent ( 30% ) of adults 20 years of age and older in the States – over 60 million people – are overweight. The CDC reports the percentage of young people who are obese has more than tripled since end of the last century.
The children in our family aren’t overweight – why should I be worried?
Your children are happy and have normal weight, right? And you are a very good parent. But in a country where walking is limited, school gymnastic and fitness programs are being cut, and cars, elevators and buses eliminate our chance to have a natural exercise, we need to make a intensive effort to make physical activity part of our day routine and our children’s days activities.
Although all the benefits of being physically active and healthy, most people Americans and Europeans are inactive. Sedentary kids are likely to become inactive adults.
So as parents how can we can persuade our children moving?
“The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.”
The good news is fitness activities and exercise come in many forms and can be a lot of fun too! With a little bit creativity you can easily add some fun bodily activity into your style as parent.
- Lead the way
You have to do few physical activities too to set a good example for your kids. Children, especially younger one, naturally follow what their parents do. So be sure you are looking after your own health also making physical activity a priority in your life.
- Do it together
In our today overscheduled world, we need to make sure we are spending as much quality time with our children as possible. Do you know a better way than to be active together with your kids? Since children can’t be alone roaming the neighbourhood, parents need to play with them and keep them active.
- Make it fun
Put on some good music and dance. Roller blade. Play tag. Basically just play. Provide them with equipment and toys that encourage them to be active while having fun.
Hockey sticks and baseball bats, bikes and scooters, will get your children moving and be energetic. For preschool kids, ride on toys that get them exercising like pedal cars, big wheels and tricycles are always a great parenting choice.
- Cheer them on
Create positive reinforcements with support and encouragement.
Help them find sports and activities that build their self-esteem. Attend their sporting events and let them know you are their greatest fan whether they win or lose.
- Turn it off
Of course, we want and have to limit the time our children watching TV and playing video games. But make sure you do it in a positive way.
If they are excited that you just turned off their favourite show or video game, they might not be too angry about going out rollerblading with you.
Allow screen time during designated hours, preferably after homework is done and when their physical activity is already finished, like in the evening or on Saturday morning when exhausted parents might need to catch a few extra minutes of sleep or need some private time.
Adding more bodily activity into your family’s daily routine will help you all feel better, be healthier and get you having more fun all together.
Most importantly, as you model a healthy lifestyle you will also help in the creation of your children lifelong habits and healthy attitudes toward exercise and physical activity.