Raising healthy, active kids in today's world can definitely be a challenge. Studies show that the average child spends more than six hours a day in front of some type of screen (e.g., computer, smartphone, TV, etc.), which obviously does not leave a lot of time for physical activity.
In light of such an alarming statistic, it's no mystery why childhood obesity has been steadily on the rise since the advent of the digital age. So what can you do to encourage a more active lifestyle for your kids? Below are six tips that will help you raise your children to become more physically active.
1. Set the example for them to follow.
According to a report published by the Journal of Sports Medicine, children who have active parents are six times more likely to exercise than those with inactive parents. When your children see that you make exercise a regular priority, it will change their perception regarding the importance of staying physically fit.
2. Provide your child with activity options.
Expose your child to different types of activity options through sports, games, toys, recreational facilities, etc. – basically, any type of activity that encourages physical movement is fair game. It is far more likely that your child will warm up to a particular activity when they're able to choose from a variety of options, so give them some room to choose which one appeals to them the most. Truth be told, once they find an activity that they really like, it's going to be hard for you to stop them from doing it.
3. Plan regular family activity times.
There are plenty of ways that you can exercise together as a family without making it seem like anything too formal or "official." For instance, you can take your children on a family bike ride, go roller skating, hit the swimming pool at Five Seasons Family Sports Club, go to an indoor rock climbing wall, go hiking at a local nature trail, or take a nice stroll around a beautiful park in your area (stopping at the playground along the way, of course).
4. Limit your children's daily screen time.
For today's children, interfacing with electronics is simply a part of everyday life, but it's not healthy for them to spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen. Put measures in place to limit your children's screen time to no more than two hours per day.
5. Don't discount unstructured play time.
Some of the best and most vigorous activity your children will engage in will come by way of unstructured play. This could be something as simple as a game of backyard kickball, a water gun fight, or even a game that they make up on the spot. Any activity that gets those young muscles moving will contribute towards bettering their health and physical fitness.
6. Pay close attention to their nutrition.
It's going to be difficult for your children to get the most out of their physical activity if their diet is all out of whack. If your child's diet is loaded with refined sugars and artificial ingredients, it can affect everything from their stamina to their mood. Be sure to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your children's diet, and do your best to limit their daily sugar intake to a reasonable amount. Good nutrition will help lay the groundwork for a lifestyle of robust physical activity for your children.
If you want to set your kids on the right trajectory where their health and fitness is concerned, you have to make physical activity a priority in your household. Use the tips outlined above to help you establish a solid foundation of good health that will benefit your children immeasurably over the course of their lifetime.