Tips For Helping Your Child Exercise
Getting plenty of exercise is important not only for children’s health, but also for their emotional and physical development. More and more kids are becoming obese. Even children that are of a healthy weight now are in danger of becoming sedentary adults. Our society and lifestyle doesn’t require much physical work. With cars, computers, telephones, and busses, we may feel like we’re doing a lot, but in reality, more of us are sedentary than we may realize.
Children can be extremely influenced by TV, computers and video games. These things can offer learning experiences, but only in small doses. Many parents concerned with their child’s inactivity may get frustrated feeling like they’re competing with all of the marketing and instant gratification of television and games. Use these steps to get your kids moving and more importantly, help them to like their active lifestyles so that they carry it into adulthood.
1) Set a good example. Signing your child up for a sport will only get them active for so long. You need to think long-term. Get involved in a sport yourself. Go on a walk every day. Challenge your child to a sit-up contest or a race across the back yard. Get on that trampoline with them! Kids that see parents involved in physical activity are way more likely to be involved when they become adults.
2) Make it fun. Take your kids out on regular hikes. See how many playgrounds in your town you can hit in a month. Get out there and go down the slides with them. Pack a picnic lunch instead of stopping for fast food. That ten minute romp around the fast food play ground does not negate the hundreds of calories, massive amount of sugar, and loads of fat that they just ate. You can encourage healthy food choices and activity by taking a healthy lunch on a hike with you.
3) Talk about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Letting your kids know that you care about being active will stick with them. Make sure that they are having fun when you bring it up. The last thing you need is eye rolling and a child saying, “You may like it but I don’t”. Offer lots of positive comments. Avoid yelling and putting down. Some parents find themselves so stressed about getting their child active that they end up fighting the whole time that they’re out. Avoid saying things like, “This is why you’re so big.” Avoid bickering or being over protective while they’re trying to have a good time.
There are things you can do at home to be more active. For toddlers, choose preschool toys that require climbing, like a small plastic slide, foam climbing structures, or a play house. For babies, provide them with things to pull up on, like an activity table. Older children may be interested in trampolines, pull-up or sit-up contests, and bikes. Be sure that you are setting a good example and providing your family with plenty of opportunities to be active and they can benefit for their entire lives.
Jim Ford is the President of KinderMark, a family owned and managed business which sells waiting room toys and waiting room furniture used in doctor’s offices, hospitals, auto dealers, dentists offices and libraries. Preschool toys such as an activity table and learning toys are favorites for pediatric offices. For more information, visit www.kindermark.com .