Keeping your family fit, healthy and active can be a challenge for many parents. Today’s lifestyles do not allow sufficient time for children to play and be as physically active as they did in the past. Neighborhood safety issues are a concern and levels of activity, despite our knowledge of the links between inactivity and poor health, are decreasing.
Children now choose to play online games and become more sedentary. Far too much time is spent online, watching screens, and there are serious health risks that are associated with a lack of exercise. Your child will be more at risk of becoming obese and developing type 2 Diabetes.
There are some easy fixes for this problem, and it all starts with motivating your family to be more active – through exercise, family games, and outdoor play.
Age Appropriate Activity
Small children are naturally quite active. Preschoolers will run around and play to their heart’s content at school, and at home. Small children climb monkey bars, and go on slides, and run around – chasing each other. They are naturally physically active, but, as children grow older their lives become more structured, and levels of activity drop off.
It’s important to choose age-appropriate forms of exercise, and play, to match the attention span of your child. Preschool aged children have short attention spans and need activities that help them develop their motor/hand/eye coordination. For example, a simple game of catch will be appropriate for a young child, as will a game of tag.
Pickleball & Family Games
For older children, and teenagers, family games are an excellent way to bond, and be physically active. Pickleball is a game that was designed for parents to entertain their children during the long summer school vacation – it’s now played by millions of people across the globe. You will need two pickleball paddles and a few balls.
It’s easy to draw up a court, and you can play on any surface. The ball is light, and the rules are simple. You can play singles, or doubles, game. You don’t use a traditional service, but ‘drop-serve’ the ball, and start the game. You don’t need specific skills, like learning how to serve in pickleball. It’s lots of fun, and the whole family can play pickleball.
Healthy Habits Are Learnt At Home
Setting a good example is the best way to keep your kids motivated, and teach them good health habits. Being active together, and choosing a particular game, or sport that will be fun for everyone is a good way to increase physical activity. You could join a local pickleball league, tennis club, jog along the beach, or commit to taking part in a sports event, like a charity walk. You need to reinforce healthy habits too, to keep your children on track.
Children need to find an activity that they are interested in learning, or playing, and must be committed, and take part regularly. Older children require more structured activities too, like classes, which they attend on a regular basis. You don’t have to supervise all activity, but you do need to provide older children with interesting options. They are too young to motivate themselves.(e.g., ballet classes, karate classes)
Teenagers & Activity
Teenagers need exercise and activity, which will fit into a far busier academic schedule, than a younger child. They may take part in sports at schools and have no need for extra physical activity, or you may need to be a bit more creative, to get your teenager active. This will depend on the fitness level and temperament of your child. Some kids are naturally more athletic, and interested in exercise, others less so.
You may consider a gym contract for your teenager if they are not too shy. They may enjoy the more adult environment and will be able to join classes or use a range of exercise equipment. Children aged between 6-17 need to have at least one hour of physical activity a day.
Health Benefits Of Exercise
Your kids will sleep better, develop healthy bones and muscles. Physical activity stimulates mental development too. Your children will develop better self-esteem, be more healthy, and their chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes will decrease. As a parent, you need to set an example and plan activities, for your family to do.
Younger children will play, and be quite active, naturally, but older children need activities to be planned for them. You can choose budget friendly options, or more specialized activity and classes, such as horse-riding, ice skating, and tennis lessons. Taking your children to the beach, or setting up a pickleball court, are great fun too.
Keeping your family active takes planning, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. Get creative, and play a game of water gun tag, or check out what the family rate is, at your local gym. Being active has incredible health benefits for everyone. Get active today, and enjoy the benefits for years to come.
Meet Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy is the co-founder of Toys Advisors blog. I have a lovely family with my wife Sophie, my son Quentin and my daughter Sarah. I spent most of time with my family, I learn and share about parenting, DIY