It’s summer (in some parts of the world) and here come the school holidays – again. Are you going crazy with kids sitting around the house, watching tv, playing computer games, sleeping in, asking for money – all day? Remember when you were young? Playing in the street, building forts, going to the beach for a surf? Basically just getting outdoors, socializing… and MOVING!
Want your kids moving this summer – here’s six tips.
Do It Together
Making activities a family affair helps get everyone motivated. Go bush-walking, have a day at the beach. Enroll the whole family in some kind of lesson or activity, such as paddle-boarding, horseback riding, or even golf. Take the dog for a walk – together. When it’s a family outing, it can be much more motivating. Plus it never hurts to set the example.
Get Friends Involved
Kids like hanging out with their friends, and doing the same things. Get in touch with the parents of some of your kids’ friends, and plan activities for the families to do together. As an example, maybe both families can plan to go biking at the park, and then have a fun, healthy picnic afterwards.
Limit the Use of Electronics
Let’s address the elephant in the room. No discussion of getting kids to be more active is complete without talking about those devices we love to hate: televisions, computers, video games, mobile devices, and other electronic gadgets. It’s easy just to let them sit in front of the devices, as a pseudo baby-sitter, but this does not instill good habits. Regardless of how interesting, informative, and even educational these things can be, their use is best limited to make time for physical activity. (And a sneak peak at what they are watching / playing will likely reveal it’s World of War Craft – as opposed to a documentary on WW2)
Consider Their Interests
Don’t overlook the obvious when it comes to getting your kids moving. While you may have an idea of what your kids should be doing, and wonder why they don’t take to the activities you’ve chosen.
Make sure you take your kids’ individual interests into account when you plan activities. A child who loves Kung Fu movies may not be happy doing tennis, but may love a martial arts class. Another child who loves to collect model horses may take to horseback riding lessons more readily than hiking. I have a nephew who loved pirates when he was younger. We used to boat over to a deserted island where we lived and set up a treasure hunt – map, clues and all. It got all the kids outside for a few hours and they loved it!
Make It a Habit
Once fitness becomes part of your regular routine, it becomes a no-brainer. It’s just what you do. Try to make the physical activity non optional – put it on the same level as the kids watching their favorite TV shows. It just can’t be missed! Of course, you probably don’t want to get completely inflexible and unreasonable about activity time. But it should be considered something that you always do – like school – that is only missed due to something significant.
One thing that is probably best avoided is nagging. You don’t want to damage your kids’ self-image by harping on their weight, body shape, and so forth. It’s not a very good motivation to tell them that they need to get in shape because they are flawed in some way. Make it positive – getting in shape and being active is healthy for everyone, fat or thin, young or old. It will set them up with good habits for the rest of their lives.
This post was shared at Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup