Was it easier to be a parent forty years ago?
As a mom in the 21st century, do you dream of a world where streets are safe and parents can let their kids run around the neighborhood without worrying about them. Their bodies would get exercise just by playing.
Instead, before the car door slams and the backpack hits the floor, people turn on the TV and spend the last few hours of daylight playing video games and eating overly processed snacks.
Even a caring, well-intentioned parent can feel helpless when faced with brilliant marketing and instant gratification. Xboxes, SpongeBob, and potato chips are hard to beat when it comes to fun things to do.
My children aren’t fat, so why should I worry?
Your children are fine, right? You are parenting just fine. But in a world where we can’t walk everywhere, where P.E. programs are being cut, and where cars, elevators, and buses take away our natural opportunities to exercise, we need to work hard to make physical activity a part of our days and the days of our children.
So, how can we get our kids to move around?
Every day, kids and teens should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
The good news is that there are many ways to exercise, and some of them can be a lot of fun. With a little imagination, it’s easy to add some fun physical activity to the way you raise your kids.
1. Set the pace
You need to show them what to do. Children, especially younger ones, usually want to do what their parents do. So make sure you take care of your health and put physical activity at the top of your list of priorities.
2. Do it with someone
We need to make sure we spend quality time with our kids in a world where everyone is always busy. What could be better than to do something together? Kids can’t just run around the neighborhood on their own, so their parents need to play with them.
3. Make it fun
Play some music and start dancing. Play tag, roller blade. Just play. Give them toys and equipment that will get them moving and having fun at the same time.
Your kids will get up and move around with bikes, scooters, hockey sticks, and baseball bats. Parents should always get their preschool-aged kids’ ride-on toys that get them moving, like pedal cars, big wheels, and tricycles.
4. Cheer for them
Encourage and help people to feel good about themselves. Help them find sports and activities that will help them feel better about themselves. Show them you are their biggest fan by going to their games, whether they win or lose.
5. Shut it down
We should limit how much time our kids spend watching TV and playing video games. But you should do it in a good way. If you just turned off their favorite show and they are mad about it, they might not want to go rollerblading with you.
Screen time should be limited to certain times, preferably after homework is done and physical activity is over, like in the evening or on Saturday morning when tired parents might need a few extra minutes of sleep.
Getting your family to move around more will make you all feel better and give you more fun things to do together. Most importantly, if you live a healthy life, you will help your kids form healthy habits and attitudes about exercise and physical activity that will last a lifetime.