Anyone who has seen a toddler in action knows how challenging it can be to follow their every move. Based on this, getting kids active may seem like an easy task. Yet, less than a quarter of US kids get even one hour of physical activity daily.
This is primarily the case with kids between the ages of six and 17. Does something significant change their energy level as they start kindergarten? And why does this continue into high school?
Regardless of the reason, kids need to be active. The alternative can have adverse effects on their physical and mental health. Academic performance can also suffer. This article delves into the benefits children can gain from being active. It also provides a few tips on how you can increase physical activity for kids.
The Importance of Keeping Kids Active
You might be wondering what physical activity for a child might involve. If you’re looking for some fitness tips for kids, the CDC recommends three main areas of focus:
1. Aerobic Activity
These are vigorous exercises that involve a lot of movement. This can include:
Aerobic activity should have a level of intensity that elevates the heart rate.
This is an activity that works the muscles. Examples include:
- Resistance exercises
- Yoga or stretching
Muscle-strengthening aims to build muscle size and endurance along with strength.
These are usually high-impact exercises. The force created while doing them helps bones strengthen and grow. These include:
- Jumping rope
Children should do activities targeting each of these areas at least three days a week. Getting kids active by including some of these in their daily routines will have numerous benefits:
- Increased muscular fitness
- Better brain health
- Your kid’s academic performance will improve
- Bone strength
- Improved overall health
Physical activity can improve blood pressure. This helps to make your child’s heart and lungs healthier.
Last year, approximately one in five American children were obese. Physical activity can positively shift these numbers.
Regular exercise can also have long-term effects. It can reduce the chances of your child having a chronic disease such as diabetes. This is critical as more children are among the one in 10 Americans that develop it.
10 Ways to Increase Physical Activity for Kids
Physical activity has many advantages. Undoubtedly, most parents will want their kids to benefit by exercising regularly. But how do you keep kids active? More importantly, how do you get started?
You’ll first have to find ways to encourage physical activity. If you focus on fun, you’ve won half the battle. Ensure that the activities you choose are age-appropriate. It also helps to choose the ones that suit your child’s personality.
Here are 10 ways to get kids active:
1. Make It Natural
If you’re wondering how to get kids to exercise, fitting physical activity into your child’s routine can make doing it much easier. This makes it seem natural and less of an inconvenience for your child.
Is your child an early riser who’s more energized in the morning? Have them walk your dog. Your dog will get its potty break while your child gets exercise. If feasible, have them walk or ride to school.
Kids who are more enthusiastic can walk or ride home with friends after a long school day. Afternoons are also a great time for sporting activities. Have them do team activities based on a sport they enjoy.
2. Join Them
It’s hard to encourage a child to be more active if they don’t see you doing the same. Join in. It’s a great way to spend time together while doing a fun, family activity.
Evening walks together may prompt children to open up about their day or a problem they may be having. Doing activities as a family will have both physical and mental health benefits.
You can also ask neighbors, relatives, or your kids’ friends to join. Chances are, kids will be having so much fun they’ll forget they’re exercising.
3. Let Them Have Their Say
Not about whether they do physical activity or not, but involving them in the choice of activities. Find out what they like or what they might have an interest in. Let them choose an activity that suits their personality.
You’ll also have to judge when to encourage them to try something new. They may resist at first, but they may enjoy it once they do.
4. Accessorize Them
Who isn’t motivated when they have the latest gear and accessories? Make physical activity fun by getting your kids exercise-appropriate clothing. If it’s an activity the family is doing together, why not get matching outfits?
If this sounds like an embarrassing idea, settle for toys you can incorporate into the activity. Some great ones include stepping stones or obstacle course items for your backyard.
5. Blend It
Doing the same things can become boring and mundane. Switch things up by doing a blend of indoor and outdoor activities. Having the option of either also prevents the weather from hampering your activities.
6. Make It a Part of School Life
Most kids love hanging out with their friends at school. Why not have them do physical activities with them as well?
Many schools offer after-school activities. Let your child choose one they think they’ll enjoy. They’ll be more eager to go if they know their friends will also be there.
7. Challenge Them
Some kids love a challenge. They may be more willing to do physical activity if it involves competing. This can even involve friendly neighborhood competition, or it can be as part of an official team.
A trophy or bragging rights are all some kids need to become motivated. The training and preparation will provide them with structure and discipline. Both elements will serve them well in other areas of their life.
8. Activate Chores
Incorporate kids’ physical activity into their chores. Have them complete a pick-up challenge or jog around the block after putting out the garbage. Remember, washing the car and cleaning the driveway both require muscle strength.
9. Pique Their Interest
A great way to pique a child’s interest is by mentioning something they love. Video games seem to be number one on the list for many kids. You can use this passion to get them more active.
This might seem contradictory, but there are video games that promote physical movement. Research and find the ones that do that your child will enjoy.
10. Get Advice
You may have read all this, but you’re still uncertain. You know your child’s disposition and might wonder, “How to make a lazy child active?”
If you’re skeptical about any of the above working for your child, speak to your physician. They can advise you on how to get a lazy child moving. It may take time and require a combination of activities. But keep working at it until you find a solution.
Trust an Au Pair to Meet Your Child’s Physical Health Needs
Children are the future. You want to ensure they have all they need to be successful. Often the role of physical activity is discounted when making that happen.
Getting kids active is one way to support your child’s growth and development. Make physical activity fun, age-appropriate, and suitable to your child’s personality. That way, it will become a natural part of your child’s life.
If you’re looking for more ways to get your child active, turn to an au pair. They can encourage your child to be more physically active and join in. This helps promote healthy habits that will serve them well into adulthood.
Contact Go Au Pair today to find out how we can meet your family’s needs!