Over the last few decades, obesity in children has become a serious problem. The new age of Technology has made matters even worse. Parents now have to pry their children not only away from television sets but also the computer. Even worse, portable electronics allow them to be inactive even outside the home. Children can play electronic games by themselves or with ‘friends’ in any part of the world. No need to walk next door or down the road to meet and interact with others. It can be done lying on the bed or sofa or from the computer desk. This is really unhealthy and some parents have been scratching their heads on how to solve this problem. Well, scratch no more. Here are some tips on ways to keep your children moving while hopefully having fun in the process.
Lead By Example
Gone are the days when children will just run outside to play. Part of the reason for this trend is that the dangers in today’s world force parents to keep a closer eye on their children. With this in mind and the fact that children tend to model their parents’ behaviour, parents need to be more active. If you lie around the house and linger too long in bed, then your children will probably imitate you. For your children’s sake and your own, you need to get moving. Plan fun games that the whole family can share. Walk the dog or any other pet that needs exercise. You can make your walks more fun by playing detective games. Make a list of things to spot as you walk. Some children may prefer to ride their bicycles which can provide a whole range of exercises. You can even reward whoever finishes the list first; yes, that will one way to keep your children active.
Include The Neighbours
Some families are larger than others so you may want to bring the children in your area together. You can decide how large you want the group to be. Put on regular competitions in a large backyard or a nearby park. Have a scheduled neighborhood Olympics where the winners get personal medals and trophies. You can organize the games to fit the needs of your group but it may be even more fun to try to imitate the real Olympics. Fitness and fun in one healthy package. Have dance competitions in the streets if you live in an area with little traffic. Play cricket or one-on-one basketball. Some cultures have their own unique activities which can come into play if you live in a culturally strong neighbourhood.
Move As A Family
Instead of sitting around the table for meals every day, you can go on more picnics. You could walk to a nearby park or just stay in your own backyard. Let the children participate as much as possible in packing and unpacking the food as well as the tidying up. Plan weekend activities for the whole family. The type of area you live in will influence the activities. You can go fishing, hiking, rock climbing. Visit the beach for water sports in the summer and go skiing or sledding in the winter. Remember those ring games of your childhood? Teach them to your children so they can enjoy them too. Take up gardening, whether flower beds or vegetable plots. Children may even learn valuable lessons that have nothing to do with exercise, like responsibility.
In order to keep your children active, it is important that you don’t let inclement weather stop your activities. If you can’t go outside, then move about the house. Line up and play ‘Follow the Leader’ by moving from room to room doing whatever the leader does. Play music and dance. Do the moves that are popular or make up your own moves which will only add to the fun. When was the last time you played musical chairs or hide and seek? Get each child a pedometer and anyone with the most steps at the end of the day gets a reward. Anything that keeps the children moving can come into play here.
Discuss with your children what activities they like to do outside the home, whether at school or at the community center. They may want to learn something new like karate. Others may want to learn ballet, modern dance or hip-hop. If they want to do regular sports, that is fine too.
You will need to strike a balance. Children need a variety of activities in order not to get bored too quickly but not so much that they don’t get to enjoy each one. So remember not to go overboard. So, why are you sitting there still reading? You need to get up and get moving and start the war on obesity and inactivity now. Remember you need to lead the way. Go get your heart pumping and take your children with you.
Want to discuss how you can best support your family as a busy mum? Feel free to get in touch if you have a question or comment.