It seems, however, that with each passing generation, it becomes more challenging for parents to get kids to be active. Changes in technology, transportation, and perception of safety are all factors that contribute to inactivity.
The following are tips to help you encourage your child to stay fit and healthy:
- Encourage play time. Allow young children time to play with friends and by themselves. Let them be creative and move about in developing their own games. If creativity fails, encourage a game of "Duck Duck Goose" to help get them moving.
- As kids get older provide them with active toys. Jump ropes, basket balls and soccer balls can all provide hours of entertainment. Remember too, kids love nostalgia. So, dust off your old pogo-stick, Skip-It, or hula hoop and let your kids give it a shot.
- Encourage your child to participate in structured activity. Sports, dance lessons, gymnastics and kids fitness classes are great ideas. Be aware, however, of the actual amount of time you child spends being active in the class or practice. Time devoted to learning the rules of the game, group discussions and standing in line for a turn with equipment can greatly reduce actual active time in a class or session.
If children enjoy what they are doing, they're bound to stick with it. Try to emphasize fun with fitness. Children tend to model their parents, so be sure to set a good example. And remember too much structure or competitiveness can take the fun out of being active for your child. Focus on the importance of physical fitness in relation to health and make being active the most important part of the activity.