by Matt Weik
Do you have a kid who is obsessed with gaming? A kid who’d rather play video games instead of being active and playing outside? A kid who’d rather make online friends instead of real friends? Well, parenting has never been an easy task, but this trend has gotten much worse over the last couple of years. Screen time is at an all-time high with kids. Have you been trying to think of ways to get your kids more active? There may be a solution for you in this article.
If you are someone who’s tried hiding an iPad or turning off the WiFi in your home and STILL struggle to get your kids more active in the real world, you’re not alone. Keep reading.
Today’s kids are digital babies. You cannot keep them away from technology. If it’s around and available, they’re on it. While technology has changed the way we live (in a positive manner), we can’t allow it to change our activities levels and cause a sedentary lifestyle. You need to draw a line in the sand somewhere, or it may create some problems for your kids in the future.
According to the CDC, childhood obesity is on the rise, and as of late 2021, 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the US are classified as obese. That’s a crazy statistic to even fathom. At this point, as a parent, your goal should not be to remove all electronics from your kid’s life, instead help them find a balance between active playing and screen time.
First, let’s see why it is so important to get your kids active. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kids who engage in physical activity:
● Maintain a proper weight.
● Develop strong muscles and bones.
● Have high self-esteem.
● Reduce the risk of getting diseases at a later stage in their life.
● Have a higher cognitive performance level (memory and concentration)
How Much Exercise is Important and Needed?
As per the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, preschool children (3-5 years old) should be active for about 3 hours a day. They should be encouraged to participate in different types of activities and get plenty of playtime. And children between 6-17 should indulge in around 60 minutes of vigorous activity every day.
Here Are a Few Ways to Help Get Your Kids More Active
If you’re struggling to get your kids more active, below are six clever ideas that may get them up and moving.
1. Get Crafty
Try doing a few DIY activities with your kids. Find little projects that can keep them busy and allow them to bring out their creative side. Maybe it’s something that you want to hang up in the house? Perhaps it’s a bird feeder for out back? Use your imagination and help them keep their hands busy with something other than electronics.
2. Be a Role Model
Let’s call it like it is… their little eyes always watch and mimic what you do, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. So, be a good example for them. Let your kids see that you are physically active and doing it consistently. Also, tell them why those activities are good. When they hear you talk positively about it, they may just start doing it along with you. Next thing you know, you have a workout partner, and you found the perfect way to get your kids more active.
3. Try to Limit Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children from 3-18 years should have a screen time of a maximum of two hours a day. There are so many adverse effects of excessive screen time that it would blow your mind. Here’s how you can help limit it:
● Ask your kids to avoid using electronics during meals.
● Remove the TV remote or mobile phone from your kids’ room during the night.
● Limit the number of hours your kids can use electronics.
● Mention that certain tasks need to be completed each day before they are allowed to use electronics.
4. Incorporate a Few Outdoor Activities in the Routine
Try to add a few outdoor activities to help get your kids more active. For example:
● Ask them to take the dog outside for a walk.
● Invite them to the park and get involved with them.
● Take them out for a weekend getaway where everything is within walking distance.
5. Involve Your Entire Family
Involving the entire family is one of the most successful ways to change the habits of kids and may be the best way to get your kids more active. Plan a weekly physical activity that everyone can take part in. This will not only improve the health of the family but also strengthen the bond with your kids. You can try these activities:
● Go out for a picnic.
● Plan a camping trip.
● Go hiking.
● Go out for a walk after dinner.
6. Make Exercise Fun
The reason why kids don’t exercise is that most of them feel it’s extremely boring. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make it a fun activity. So, try to find the activities your kids love doing and engage in those activities.
The Best Time to Get Your Kids More Active is Right Now
Of course, it won’t be easy in the beginning, as your kid will throw tantrums to many of the changes you’re trying to implement. You need to stay calm and remind your little ones why it’s important to be more active. Remember, it’s all about the overall development of your child.
These tips can certainly help get your kids more active and spend less time on electronics and staring at a screen. As a parent, only you can help them find a healthy balance. Because without you, they’d spend all day on some form of technology. So, make sure to spend more time with your kids, as it will help them live a better and healthier life.