Friday, August 28, 2020

5 ways to encourage your kids to be more physically active

The last 6 months have seen our kids quarantined in our homes to keep them safe from the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, kids need sunshine, exercise, and lots of play to be healthy, too. So if you're lucky enough to have a garden or a roof deck, do go out and play there! I live in a condo so it's been tricky. What I do is tell my kids they have to exercise first (and finish their list of art, literary, music activities, plus chores) before they can play on their gadgets. So that's really pushed them to work out!

But today is the weekend! We can go to our condo's amenities deck and play there! Today's guest post offers 5 other ways to encourage kids to be more physically active.

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GUEST POST - There are invaluable benefits that your children can receive from regular exercise. Physical activity is crucial for your child’s health and development, but in the social media world we live in, your kids may be more interested in their news feed than getting outdoors and taking up a hobby or sport.

As parents, we want to do what’s best for our children, so if you’re concerned about their behavior, weight, or general wellbeing, here are 5 ways to encourage them to be more physically active.

1. Find Fun Activities

If your child doesn’t enjoy a particular activity or sport, the chances of them sticking to it are slim. It’s important that they find something that stimulates their brain and keeps them entertained. Otherwise, they are more likely to throw a tantrum, which no parent wants to deal with. There are tons of hobbies and sports that your child can partake in, such as swimming, tennis, and baseball. If your child loves to play baseball, installing fencing will keep your neighbors happy

2. Make Time for Exercise

If your children are of school age, it’s likely that they have a mountain of homework and other planned activities to adhere to, but that’s not to say that they shouldn’t exercise as well. Scheduling time for physical activity is crucial, regardless of how busy their schedule is. Children need time to get outdoors and play, so if they’re spending the majority of their day indoors, putting other things on the back burner and letting them have breaks is a good idea. This is extremely important for their mental health and wellbeing.

3. Get Rid of Distractions

Whether you like it or loathe it, social media is used by many children across the country. While there are some benefits to social media, if left to their own devices, children will spend every waking hour behind their smartphone or tablet. Distractions like the TV and computer emit blue light and can have a negative effect on your children, such as difficulty getting to sleep and mood swings, so switching off the TV and eliminating distractions at various intervals is key.

4. Set a Good Example

You can’t expect your kids to be physically active if you’re not doing so yourself. Children pick up on their parents’ patterns of behavior, so if you’re preaching about the benefits of regular exercise but are lounging around the house, this will set a bad example to your kids. Children who see their parents regularly participating in sports and physical activity are much more likely to try it out themselves. There are lots of activities that you can do as a family, which can be a great opportunity to bond with your kids, as well as reap the health benefits of exercise.

5. Speak to Your Child’s Doctor

If you’re struggling to get your child motivated to exercise, it may be wise to book an appointment with your child’s doctor. They will have a better knowledge of what sports and activities are suitable for your child, as well as what strategies you can implement in your home life to get them interested in physical activity. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you have major health concerns about your child’s weight, as your doctor is there to help you, rather than judge.

Regular physical activity can be a great opportunity for your kids to socialize with others, improve their fitness, and boost their concentration levels. All children can benefit from regular exercise, so while it may be hard to motivate them at first, as long as your kids find hobbies and sports that they enjoy, you will notice a huge difference in their behavior and health.

*Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com. 

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