Exercise and physical activity are very important for children, allowing them to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of preventable diseases.
Children typically need around an hour of exercise each day but research shows only 47% achieve the recommended time. While this may sound like a lot, it doesn’t necessarily need to happen all at once. There are plenty of ways to spread the time out through activities during the day.
Could they be more active on their way to school? Are there any after-school activities to take part in? Do you have any green spaces nearby you could take them at the weekends? Remember, a little here and there goes a long way and will ensure your children are as healthy as possible.
Here are some of our top tips to help you get your kids to be more active, including some of the ways you can get involved too!
What you may not realise is that there are plenty of opportunities for your child to be active in the morning before school. This doesn’t always need to be something overly exerting or time-consuming, simply have them do some morning stretches. If you have a dog, get them to take it for a short walk.
Depending on how far school is from the home, try to get your child to walk as often as possible to school. Alternatively, they could ride their bike or scooter to school. For children with special education needs or disabilities, wheelchair walking and mobility scooters are a great idea, allowing all children to be active in some form.
Sometimes it may not be possible for children to be active during school and so the focus should be outside of school hours. However, there are a few opportunities during the day that may be beneficial.
During breaks in the playground, encourage your child to get involved with games like football or rounders or use playground equipment (which is great for muscle strength). Even just running around with the other children is a great way of getting exercise whilst improving social skills at the same time.
Since children spend upwards of 35 hours per week at school, it’s important that their school shoes and P.E. shoes aren’t restricting, particularly when running around and being active. By opting for a pair of barefoot shoes to wear at school, you can be confident that their feet develop naturally while they run, play, walk, and learn.
The school day may have ended but this is when the games should begin. Encouraging your children to take part in after-school activities is not only great for improving soft skills like teamwork and communication but it is also great for their overall health and wellbeing. Using up that additional energy can promote better mood and sleep, as well as reduce the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
After school-activities could be as simple as walking or cycling home or hanging out with friends and playing outdoors. Running is a great way to stay active too! You could also help them to sign up for an after-school program or class in an activity of their choice.
Popular options include karate, swimming, and cricket. Additionally, they could sign up for a local football or rugby team. This is a great way of making friends while taking part in a sport that they are passionate about.