As a parent, a big part of your responsibility is to make sure your kids are safe, happy and healthy. This overall sense of well-being can be fostered in many ways and everyone’s experiences will be different. A huge part of health stems from plenty of physical activity, which will also vary depending on the person. And even though kids are typically full of energy, there will inevitably be times when yours aren’t as active as you know they should be.
Here are three ways you can teach your kids the value and importance of being active while also providing the nudge they might need to get up and get moving.
- Just Add Water
Hearing that kids are drawn to water is nothing new, especially when it comes to swimming pools. Whether they love passing the time playing water games, practicing their form off the diving board or seeing how big of a splash they can make from cannonballs, kids and pools are a perfect match. Pool time is the perfect way for your kids to get their energy out while also staying cool and comfortable, making it the perfect activity for those long hot days. Now picture this — wouldn’t it be amazing to have that experience right in your own backyard? No schlepping everyone around, no worrying about claiming deck space and no more pool fees. Doesn’t that sound like a treat? If you’re wondering what to expect with pool cost, doing some quick research will help you get a feel for what you can expect and how installing one would fit into your budget.
- Encourage Free Play
One of the easiest ways to encourage activity is to just let kids be kids. The style of play will change depending on age, but the objective remains the same. Oftentimes kids get overwhelmed or feel backed into a corner when it comes to planned activities, whether it’s team sports, constant playdates or being part of one too many groups. If this sounds familiar, consider pumping the brakes for a while. Stay home and enjoy a day of zero plans. Free play is a wonderful thing and you’ll probably be amazed at how well your kids do with filling that time. You can set the stage by doing little things such as making sure bikes are tuned up and ready to ride, or that the sandbox has plenty of fresh sand. For older kids, try assigning active chores such as mowing the lawn or walking the family dog. Chances are they’ll thrive on the responsibility. Littler kids will enjoy smaller jobs, such as picking up sticks or even pulling weeds.
- Turn Off the Screens
Screen time. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Love it or hate it — whether it’s a tablet, a cell phone or a laptop — it has become a big part of life. And while it has its place and can be very useful and beneficial, it can also be very detrimental in many ways — especially when it comes to physical activity levels. When kids spend too much time logged in and not enough time moving their bodies and freeing their minds, imagination and ambition will inevitably plummet. This is alarming, especially considering the rising instances of conditions such as childhood diabetes. You can easily manage the amount of screen time your kids get by utilizing parental controls. Implementing a screen time rewards program or creating a specific schedule to control the who, what, when and where of it are also very effective. For the times when your kids are on their devices, consider adding movement-based programs focusing on dancing, sports or exercise. Just remember that while screen time can be a good thing, physical activity is far more important. Kids need to get their hands dirty, move, sweat, explore, create and build — no matter how old they are.
Keeping your children active is easier than you might think, but you need to commit to providing some guidance. You’ll love seeing their imaginations and bodies take off as they not only stay active but have a great time doing it as well.