Most parents don’t need to be told why it’s good for their kids to be physically active—the benefits of exercise in terms of both physical and mental health are well documented and generally well known. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s always easy to get your kids to be active. Some children will naturally want to spend their time running around or playing sports, but if your kids are of the more sedentary type, you might need to put some thought into how you’re going to get them off the couch. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Lead by example
If your kids never see you or your partner be active, it’s going to be hard to convince them to exercise. A good way to get the whole family to be more active is to take part in physical activities that you can all enjoy together. Sports fundraising platform pledgesports.org has a list of family-friendly activities. Remember that you can enroll the whole family into a sporting class or event, such as a family fun run, but you can also just do your thing—playing catch in the backyard or going for a bike ride around the local park are all great ways to stay active.
Find a sports class that your kids will enjoy
Enrolling your kids in a sports class is a great way to get them to make new friends while you get an hour’s break from childcare responsibilities. If your kids are not sure what sport they might enjoy, choose a gym or community center that offers several sports, so if your kids want to switch classes, they won’t have to get used to a whole new setting. For example, London gym fightcitygym.co.uk offer kids’ classes in boxing, wrestling, and two different types of martial arts—there’s bound to be something that your kid will like!
Buy outdoor toys
While it’s great for kids to spend time learning a new skill with other children, you don’t want to overschedule their lives, as this can lead your kids to become stressed and overly tired. Remember that your kids spend long hours at school being told what to do, and they need plenty of opportunities to let off steam—just like adults do!
A great way to encourage your kids to be active in their downtime is to buy them plenty of toys that they can use outdoors, such as balls, skipping ropes, baseball sets, and so on. If you don’t have outdoor space at your home, take your kids to the local park and bring the toys with you. Parenting blog ahealthysliceoflife.com has lots more advice on how to encourage unstructured play.
Limit screen time
Screen time is an extremely hot topic among parents and kids these days. Different ways of dealing with tech devices work for different families, but if your kids are spending their afternoons glued to a screen, you could try stipulating that screen time is now limited to a certain portion of the day, such as between 5 and 6 pm. To make this easier to enforce, make a habit of taking your kids to the park every day after school, so they won’t have access to their gadgets for a while and will be encouraged to run around instead.