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It’s more important than ever for your children to be physically active and healthy. When your children engage in too many seated activities—like playing video games or watching television—it can stunt their physical and mental growth. Currently, obesity affects nearly 20% of all children in the United States.
When your children are physically active, they’ll build a healthy body composition, improve their cardiovascular fitness, develop better motor skills, and enhance their thinking and concentration. Children are more likely to engage in physical activity when they’re younger, which sets the foundation for years to come. Here are five ways you can encourage your kids to be physically active:
Make it Social
Part of having fun for children means being around other children. This improves their social skills and makes physical activity effortless. Head over to a local park and let your children play daily with other children. You can also go out of your way to organize activities with other parents and bring children together for physical activity.
When you’ve got other kids involved, you can even take a step further by incorporating some healthy competition. For instance, why not have the children race to win a prize, or complete a certain number of jumping jacks or pushups? A little competitive edge makes children more motivated to complete a task. On the same token, you can offer your children rewards once they’ve completed certain physical-based milestones, like attending all their softball practices for the month.
Give Them Active Toys
Certain toys naturally encourage your children to be more active. For example, a jump rope or a play basketball court. Therefore, instead of investing in games and letting them watch TV, invest in toys that encourage them to go outdoors and have fun.
To make active toys more enjoyable, create a mini adventure out of a shopping spree. Take them to the sporting toy section, and have them pick out one or two things they like. This will get them even more excited about taking home their new toy. For example, hula hoops, rollerblades, and bikes are great options for children who want to play and have items that keep them entertained for long periods of time.
Make It Fun
If your child isn’t enjoying an activity, they’ll be less inclined to do it. For this reason, it’s important to think of fun ways to get them moving around and enjoying themselves.
“Consider taking your children to participate in an adrenaline-inducing activity,” says Sky High Sports, a trampoline park in Concord. “Incorporating a bit of adrenaline is healthy for children, as it boosts their energy and increases their mental alertness.” For instance, a trip to the trampoline park allows children to jump and have fun, getting their minds and bodies excited while keeping them active. Check out local “fun zones” in your area, like jungle gym centers and obstacle parks.
Involve Them In Sports
Children can start participating in sports at the young age of two. Spearhead their physical activity by talking to them about what sports and activities they like and getting them involved. Depending on their age, it might take a little trial and error to see what gets them in their groove, but it will be worth it in the long run. Many towns have local sports for children. You can also get them involved in swimming during the summer (or indoor swimming if possible during the colder months), which is one of the best ways to get your children working out their muscles.
Limit Screen Time
Whether it’s playing on a tablet or watching television, it’s important for parents to set boundaries and limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time each day. Not only does staring at the screen prevents them from being active, but it also stunts their growth. If you enforce this rule consistently, they’ll be more inclined to follow it and keep themselves busy in other, more productive ways. If you want to be a little more lenient, offer an additional screen time hour during the weekends or take the children on a trip to the cinema.