In today’s digital world, it can be hard to get your kids to put down the devices and do something active. But with a little effort, we can help them learn healthy habits now and find activities they can love for a lifetime.
Why is it important for kids to be active?
Just like in adults, increased physical activity is associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of many diseases and health problems. In other words, a longer and healthier life! There are also some benefits that may appeal to kids’ competitive nature and desire to do their best.
Children are naturally active. As they grow into adolescents, they tend to become less active. Don’t be surprised or disappointed if your kids’ interests shift or they lose interest in activities they used to love. Help them find other activities they can enjoy instead of becoming inactive.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Be a role model for an active lifestyle. Start moving more yourself and find ways to be active together as a family.
- Physical activity should be fun for children and adolescents. Encourage kids to keep trying activities to discover the ones they like and will stick with. Don’t use physical activity as a punishment.
- Reduce or limit sedentary screen time, including watching television, playing video games, and using a digital device. Don’t use the TV or a device as a babysitter.
- Provide kids with opportunities to be active. Give them active toys and games, like bikes, skateboards, scooters, balls, and sports equipment.
- Support their participation in sports, dance, and other active recreation like swimming, biking, and running. Get familiar with community facilities near you, like pools, recreation centers, bike paths, and parks.
- Let them walk or bike places instead of always driving them in the car. Just make sure they would be safe.
- If your child is very inactive now, start slowly. Increase the amount and intensity of activity gradually each week or so. This may help them avoid discomfort or injury and adjust to a more active lifestyle without becoming discouraged.
- Praise, rewards, and encouragement help kids to stay active.