Remember how much fun we had as kids, before the rise of everything Apple?! Countless hours were spent outdoors with nothing but toy helicopters, sports equipment, and friends prozac fluoxetine. But as we know, the “playing” landscape is totally different for kids of this generation – and with the rise in childhood obesity, it’s our duty as parents to get our kids up and moving!
Our children are recommended to engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. Unfortunately, Active Healthy Kids Canada states that only 9% of 5- to 17-year-olds are meeting these recommendations. Specifically, the after-school period of 3:30 – 6:30 PM tends to be concerningly sedentary for most children (e.g., homework, TV and other screens, etc.), so here are a few tips to make daily exercise more fun and practical:
1. Build activity into daily routines (e.g., walk, bike, scooter or rollerblade to school instead of driving).
2. Put a ball or jump rope in your kids’ backpacks. Even if they swear they’ll never use them, with a few spare minutes during lunch or while waiting to be picked up after school, they could just get bored enough!
3. Encourage your child to participate in school-run activities such as a competitive sports team, after-school intramurals, or even a casual lunchtime league.
4. Register your child for swimming lessons – besides an awesome workout, swimming is a life skill they’ll be glad they were taught!
5. Have your kids help out with household tasks such as walking the dog or bringing in groceries.
6. Be active as a group. Make time on weekends for active family fun (e.g., a walk or bike ride in a community park such as Edwards Gardens), discovering different playgrounds around the city, or teaching them some tennis moves at your local court). This will also be a good example for when they start a family of their own!
7. Get your child a pedometer and have them start with a smaller goal of perhaps 6, 000 steps per day. Use your pedometers together and go for a walk (or five!).
8. And most importantly… PLAY WITH THEM! Whether it’s an activity you’ve enjoyed for years, or their new favourite game they learned at school, you should be inviting each other to join in! This way, you can remain active, but also associate being active with positive memories for them.
Forget how to play? Check out Participation’s website “Bring Back Play!” where you can find and utilize all of the games you used to love as a kid!