There is no getting away from it — our kids are becoming increasingly less active as technology continues to provide appealing alternatives to traditional play and activities. We all know the potential health effects not being active enough can have on our children, so let's focus on some actionable ways to encourage our children to be more active:
In order to encourage kids to put down their tablets or turn off the TV, we need to make active playtime more appealing. There are lots of traditional games that your children may love if they only knew about them. Twister, rounders, bowling, go-karting and swimming are all great ways to play and be active at the same time.
Sometimes children want to play, but they are being held back by overly cautious parents. Of course there are potential dangers out there, and we should always be vigilant, but sometimes we are guilty of wrapping up our kids in cotton wool. Allow your children to go out and explore their surroundings, while of course ensuring they don't wonder too far. You will be amazed at just how active they naturally are. Children can spend entire days climbing trees, playing football, racing and just generally enjoying being outside.
When it comes to birthdays and Christmas time, try not to fall into the tempting trap of getting gifts that encourage your kids to stay in their rooms. Consoles, TVs, tablets and phones will be at the top of most children's wish lists when they are older. Encourage your kids to be active early on with ride-on toys like cars, bikes, go-karts, roller blades and anything else that'll get them excited to enjoy the outdoors.
Getting into sports at a young age is great for your children's development both physically and socially. Being active at an early age, taking part in competitive sports, playing as part of a team and learning about winning and losing will stand them in good stead in their future. With hundreds of different sports to choose from, they can try a few and see which ones they like. And who knows — they might even discover a natural talent for something.
Encourage physical activity as part of their everyday lives. Can they walk to and from school? Perhaps you could send them to the local shop on their bike when you run out of milk. Chores like walking the dog, taking out the trash and vacuuming the house all contribute to their daily physical activity.
Getting your children to become more active can be challenging in the beginning, but once they get into the routine, you will find they start to crave exercise and activity. This should lead to your children actually wanting to be active instead of feeling forced, which can only be a good thing for their long-term health and development.