Ready, set and go! Top tips to encourage kids to be more active

Lifestyles have changed so much compared to a generation ago. When we were growing up it wasn’t uncommon to be playing street cricket with the neighbourhood kids, til late, riding our bikes for hours over the weekend and hanging around the park that little longer after school. Now, there are new societal factors impacting our behaviour.

For example, we have so much more access to technology, new electronic gadgets to entertain us, increasingly busy lives and a reluctance to let kids out of sight to roam and ride around exploring their surrounds due to increasing safety concerns. No wonder it is more of a challenge for children to be as active as they should. So, what can parents do to encourage kids to be more active?

1. Set an example – Children follow their parents’ example, so the first step starts here! Perhaps parents need to get outside more often and show how exercise is part of normal life. It‟s a great reason to put the phone away, turn off the TV and computer and have time together away from these distractions.

2. Family activity – Start a new family routine that involves being active. For example, go for a short walk after dinner every night, go swimming or kick the ball around at the park every Saturday morning. This shows that being active can be fun, pleasurable and part of the weekly routine.

3. Compromise – Many kids are now introduced to electronic gadgets at a younger age than ever before. These electronic toys can be quite distracting in some households. Set some rules so that electronic game playing doesn’t distract kids from staying active. A suggestion might be that for every 20 minutes children play on a gadget, they stop and play another 20 minutes outside, perhaps on their bike or throwing hoops or anything else that gets them moving and having fun.

4. Be social – Try out a group activity. Team sports are an ideal way be active, forge new friendships and develop important social skills at the same time.

5. Have fun – When children engage in a physical activity they genuinely enjoy, being active is a pleasurable way for them to spend time. Kids might not know immediately what sport they would enjoy participating in the most. If this is the case why not try out a few different sports as a way of assessing what is right for your child – and what they would enjoy the most. Many groups offer a complimentary trial class.

6. Set boundaries – Give your children set times when they play outside and limit TV, games and computer time. We’ve even heard of some families who have one night a week free from electronic devices – and that rule is not just for the kids, it‟s parents too!

7. Involve children in your exercise routine – If you go for regular walks, why not encourage the kids to join you with their bike/scooter. Kids over six benefit from at least one hour a day of physical activity and this is another way to encourage them to be active.
Being active has so many benefits for children, as well as for parents. Some of the ways children benefit from being more active are that they are fitter, stronger, sleep better and have sharper concentration levels. Team exercise can even help with developing and strengthening social skills. So it makes sense that if children are more active they will enjoy the rewards of a healthier lifestyle.

This editorial content was brought to you by: That! Dairy Snack

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