As we know, a sedentary lifestyle is ruining our kid’s health. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure are skyrocketing in today’s children. While playing too many video games and watching too much TV are mostly to blame, we as parents are ultimately responsible by not doing enough to get our kids off the couch, and to go outside to play and get exercise.
But if you are at a loss as far as how to do that, here are five ways to get your kids moving:
- Establish electronics usage and play times.
- Encourage exercising by giving gifts that promote it.
- Educate your kids on the benefits of exercising and healthy eating.
- Lead by example.
- Provide opportunities to get active .
Establish electronics usage and play times
When we were growing up, we always had a physical education class while in school, but now schools don’t have that class anymore, so as parents we have to substitute with something else.
So instead of them sitting on the couch after supper playing video games, turn them off and instead go for a family walk or bike ride. Not only will it be good for your kids, but also for you. Think about signing your kids up for an after school sport in something they like to do. Anything to get them more exercise.
Encourage exercising by giving gifts that promote it
For birthdays or Christmas, include a gift that will get their heart rate up, like a jump rope, tennis racquet, baseball glove, etc. To use the gift requires exercising. See the connection?
Educate your kids on the benefits of exercising
Explain why going for a hike, a walk or playing in the park is good for them. Emphasize the health benefits, like a stronger heart, more muscle, weight control, etc. Just be sure to keep it on their level and not get too technical.
Lead by example
You can’t expect your kids to go out and play if you stay inside and watch TV. Kids are like sponges in that they absorb everything you do and in most cases want to emulate you. Set a bad example and they will follow it just as they would if you set a good example. The choice is yours.
Provide opportunities to get active
If you make exercising fun, kids won’t even realize they are doing it. Games like tag or hopscotch are fun to play. Both games get the heart rate up, the body moving and don’t require much as far as equipment – just some chalk for hopscotch.
Being a kid should be about going outside, playing and having fun, not about sitting on the couch watching TV for hours on end. Get them (and yourself) up, outside and moving on nice days or take them to the mall and walk, or to the YMCA/YWCA on days of inclement weather.