Parents always want what is best for their children, including a healthy and happy life. Physical activity is incredibly important for a child’s physical and mental health, reducing the prevalence of damaging diseases such as bone density problems, sleep apnea and chronic conditions like asthma. Participating in plenty of physical activity is also associated with lower rates of depression in children, resulting in a happier and healthier childhood.
Unfortunately, in a time where unstructured playtime is at an all-time low for children, it can be challenging to find ways to keep your child healthy and fit. But there is good news- with a bit of extra thought, there are plenty of methods to help keep your child healthy and allow them to build healthy habits that will continue into adulthood.
Read on for some advice on how to ensure your kids are happy, active and healthy.
Some parents neglect to have their kid’s annual physical checkups, but pediatric care can help you remind about regular checkups to keep your kids healthy. Especially for children with health conditions such as asthma, finding appropriate sources of activity can be challenging. Doctors can play a key role in monitoring your child’s growth, weight and finding sources of suitable physical activity.
Limit Screen Time
Screens are easily one of the biggest reasons why so many children lack in physical activity. Compared to the wonders of television and YouTube, playing outside can seem unappealing to children and result in unhealthy habits like lying around all day.
An easy way to combat this is to limit screen time from an early age. Experts suggest that 1-2 hours is the maximum length of screen time that children should be exposed to. Putting timers on your phone to prevent over-usage and only having one T.V will help teach your children to find other sources of entertainment, including playing and physical activity.
There is a saying that “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Your children will mimic you, even in your bad habits. If you, as a parent, spend too much time around screens or never do any sports, your children will follow your example.
Make play and activity part of your family time. Take the family out biking or swimming. Go rock-climbing or get a trampoline. Starting at a young age, your children will associate those activities with fun and set them up for a healthy, fit lifestyle.
Create The Right Environment
Just giving your children the right tools to be active isn’t enough. Try to make pleasant, safe and child-friendly places where active playing can take place. This could even be a fun family project. An idea could be to build a playhouse in the back garden with a specific area for jump rope, basketball and to run around safely.
Another aspect of creating the right environment is to minimize the distractions. Rather than keeping the T.V front and center in your household, keep it in a different room so the kids won’t see it and be tempted by it. If this isn’t possible, cover up the T.V with a blanket for most of the day. Out of sight, out of mind.
Team Sport Or Not?
One of the most popular ways for children to be active is to play in a sports team, either in school or through other junior league organizations. But some children aren’t interested in those activities. Don’t despair, because there are plenty of alternatives for children who aren’t interested in playing soccer.
The key here is to listen to your child’s interests. Some introverted children might like to play tennis or swim. Others might enjoy dance and gymnastics. For children who enjoy gaming, try paintball or laser tag! There is something for everyone.
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to you and your family!