In this day and age sedentary kids who spend all their time in front of screens are not uncommon. Unfortunately, it comes with a host of problems from concentration issues all the way up to childhood obesity and more. One way to try and combat these things is keeping kids active. The funny thing is that kids are naturally active and want to do things, but the way that society has evolved has thwarted that desire. TV programmes, especially kids ones, are designed to keep them watching. They are short and brightly coloured, so they keep them wanting to see what’s next. Before you know it, hours have passed! Here’s some tips for getting kids more active:
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9 tips for keeping kids active
- Encourage walking over car use
This is one of the hardest things, especially with how busy our lives have become. It’s so much easier and quicker to jump in the car to do chores, pick the kids up from school and head on to other activities. If we can commit to walking with our kids whenever we can it sets great habits for kids and will get their hearts pumping in a good way!
- Brainstorm ideas to keep active
Involve your kids with your ideas to keep them moving. Maybe they’ll have some thoughts on what they’d like to do that you’ve not thought of yet. The best way for them to be happy to do it is if it’s part of their own plan!
- Have plenty of toys that encourage movement
Trampolines in the garden, swings and climbing frames are all great toys to have on hand to encourage some activity before an evening of game playing or TV. Start small if you need to and set a time that you want your kids to be out and playing before they are allowed electronics – maybe 10 minutes at first – you’ll maybe find they are having so much fun to come back in! It’s definitely a good habit for them to get in to. Bikes, skateboards, scooters or just some good old fashioned garden toys will mean they aren’t sat down.
- Turn the electronics off
It will be hard for kids to get themselves outside and playing if the TV is blaring or if their phones are beeping at them. Commit to an electronic free time period and if the weather is playing ball, get them outside and playing.
- Try a fitness tracker
Some kids love the ‘game’ of trying to get as many steps as possible, maybe beating a sibling or a parent in the process. It can be just the visual stimulus that some children need. There are plenty of child friendly trackers on the market these days that are fairly inexpensive too – see here.
- Go on ‘activity’ or outdoor holidays
When booking your holiday for the year why not consider something that the kids will be more active in – maybe a biking holiday, somewhere with a pool or just simply a camping holiday where there is no tv or game console around.
- Sign kids up for sports they enjoy
If your kids show an interest in a sport then encourage that by signing them up for lessons, groups or maybe a summer school where they can participate. It doesn’t have to competitive sports and the interest might not last forever, but exploring and trying out what they enjoy is a good way to get them to find something they will be happy doing often.
- Make ‘being active’ normal
Don’t make a big deal of trying to be active. Make it a normal thing to walk to the shops instead of driving, going for a weekly swim or having a play in the garden before tea time. Kids have a knack for seeing that we have an agenda so just try and make it a normal thing.
- Involve the whole family
Finally – involve everyone! This is especially important if you have just one child who is perhaps more inclined to put on weight or is just drawn to screens more often. Don’t single them out and don’t just make them get active – get everyone doing it. Go for a family swim or have a family enforced electronics down time. You can’t expect kids to get active if the adults are sitting on their butts!
If you’re still struggling for ideas – here are some tips for getting your kids outside more
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