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5 ways of being active with kids

Dr Retha J v Rensburg December 2017

· Relationships,Life Skills

"I'm so bored!" How often do we as parents listen to this familiar wailing from our kids? And I guess that, as in my home, you hear it more often during the very long summer holiday. Well, we've got a few tips on how change that refrain to "Let's Go and Have some Fun!" and inspire you and your kids to get active -- and stay active -- all through the summer holidays. And it doesn’t need to tax your imagination or your budget.

Anyone who's seen kids on a playground knows that most kids are naturally physically active and love to move around. We just need to remind them and ourselves of this as being active has the added benefit of being healthy for the whole family. Besides, having adventures and fun together as a family can help lead kids to a lifetime of being active.

Benefits of Being Active

We all want our kids to be healthy, academically motivated, alert, and successful. Our kids can be all of this and more. When kids (and us as parents) are active and moving around, our bodies (and ours) can do the things we want and need them to do and for longer periods of time. Why? Because regular exercise is responsible for a whole lot of benefits in addition to those mentioned above:

helps to maintain a healthy weight

decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes

they will have stronger muscles and bones

improves sleep and mental health

a positive outlook on life

and physical competence boosts confidence and self-esteem at every age

Things to consider

Each day, 8- to 18-year olds spend an average of:

4 hours watching TV and movies

1 hour on the computer

1 hour playing video games

Lead by example

Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself. Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.

Just Move

Let your kids help choose what to do. Children are more likely to join in if they're involved in picking the activity. Remember, the idea is to have fun, keep moving, and spend time together.

  1.    Go outside. Play Frisbee, rugby or cricket in the garden, in the park, or on the beach. Go trampolining. Teach them some of your favourite outside games when you were a kid.
  2.    Let them help you build a den or treehouse.  
  3.    Do an activity challenge together, such as training for a fun run or charity walk. See the parkrun website for free weekly 5K runs near you.
  4.    Fly a kite. Let the make a kite from scratch with your guidance and let fly!
  5.    Walk or cycle together as often as possible. And remember the dog is part of the family and need to have fun too!

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adding-pa/activities-children.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Making Physical Activity a Part of a Child’s Life https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adding-pa/activities-children.html

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/childhealth6-15/Pages/Getactivewithyourkids.aspx

Health Maintenance in School-aged Children: Part II. Counseling Recommendations https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0315/p689.html

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.