Is parenting the same as it was forty years ago? No doubt, past and present generations of parents face their own set of problems. With that being said I do dream of safe streets that I can let my children run freely through. Today, I face the challenge of electronic distraction. It seems like the second their feet hit the floor in the morning or the moment they step off the bus, they are running to the TV or computer and plopping themselves until daylight disappears into the haze of video games and processed snacks. It can certainly feel helpless at times! We and our healthy carrot sticks are competing against the master marketers at PlayStation and Hostess.
You may be thinking “My kids aren’t obese, why should I worry?” In a world where we are taught convenience, to take it easy and take the elevator, we need to begin training our children from a young age to keep active so they don’t become numbered in unhealthy statistics. So how can we get our kids moving in a sedentary world? According to the American Heart Association, children and adolescents should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
There is some great news, though! You don’t have to drag your kids to zumba or cross-fit! Tapping into some creativity will help you to add some fun physical activity into your children’s lives. Check out some of these ideas:
Set the example. Kids love to imitate their parents, it comes naturally to them. Make sure that you are looking after your own health and making exercise a priority in your life. Kids are always watching. Take the stairs, eat the apple, go for that walk with the dog!
Do it together. We know that schedules are crazy busy. Make sure that you are setting aside time to spend quality time with your children. Use that time to be active together. Today’s kids can’t be roaming around alone, so play with them!
Make it fun. Put on some music and have a dance party! Get your blood pumping. Play tag. Get some streamers and let them run wild. The key is to encourage them to be active while having fun. Other great things to bring out are bikes, hockey sticks, and baseball bats. There are ride on toys for smaller kids like pedal cars, big wheels, and tricycles.
Cheer them on. Create positive reinforcements with encouragement and support. Help them to find a sport that they like and activities that will build up their self esteem. Make sure that if they take up a sport, you attend to be their biggest fan, win or lose!
Turn it off. This is going to be the hardest part! Turn off those electronic distractions. Shut off the TV, video games, computer, and put the cellphones down. But don’t be mean about it, that wouldn’t encourage them to want to get active! Allow some screen time during specified hours, preferable after homework is done and physical activity is finished. You may find that once they start running around, they don’t want to come in until dinner or bedtime!
You will surely find that if you add some more physical activity into your family’s routine, you will all feel better and you will be having more fun together. This time you spend together will help you to build lifelong habits and healthy attitudes towards exercise and physical activity.