Due to an increase in technology use it’s not surprising to learn that statistics reveal children are less active than ever before.
An Australian Health Survey found that 25 per cent of Australian children and teenagers, aged five to 17 years, are overweight or obese, which highlights the importance of encouraging children to be more active.
It is recommended that children do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise spread throughout the day to keep them fit and healthy. The kind of exercise that will see them building up a sweat and really testing out what their bodies are capable of.
Exercise is just part of the way children used to play and this kind of active play is just as crucial today to a child's overall development as it was before technology ushered kids indoors. Here are a few simple steps to ensure your kids are getting the right amount of exercise.
Reduce their screen time. This can be done by making all the bedrooms in the house TV and computer free. Once children have finished watching their programs, turn the TV off. Make meal times about conversation and not about watching TV. Always be sure to set limits.
Gardening. The garden is the perfect place for kids to get active. Gardening is great as it promotes social, mental and physical development including teamwork and respect, as well as teaching them to care for the environment. A vegetable patch is a great way to get kids into the garden; the whole family can get involved and seeing your veggies grow is a priceless experience.
Sign up for a sport. Not only will this ensure vigorous exercise but team sports are also great for developing social skills. Speak to your school or local sporting club about finding a sport your child will enjoy.
Lead by example. If parents choose to lead an active lifestyle then their kids are likely to follow.
Provide active family activities. Make sure family outings include physical activity. The weather is warming up so plan an annual family barbecue and cricket day and get the kids involved.
Pocket money. Offer pocket money for active jobs like walking the dog or washing the car.
Set aside time to be active. Encourage kids to get outside and play, make it fun with games like twister and hide and seek.
Active play equipment. Provide some equipment to give your kids something to do while they are outside; a skipping rope, a ball or maybe set up a basketball or netball hoop in the backyard.
Make the most of daylight savings. Instead of turning on the TV after dinner, get the whole family together and go for a quick walk around the neighbourhood.
Have fun and keep it balanced. Making exercise a chore won’t convince your children to be more active. The more incidental activities you can fit into your everyday life the easier it will be to create healthy habits for your children. Ensure they don’t over do it and watch as your kids adapt to their new active lifestyle.
How do your kids like to get active? Do you have any other tips to add to our top ten?