Only 1 in 3 kids are physically active every day. More than 34% of UK children are overweight and on average modern kids spend 7 hours in front of the TV, a computer, a phone or a gaming console.
Overweight children are not only much more likely to become overweight adults but there is scientific evidence suggesting that childhood obesity is a risk factor for cardiometabolic syndrome and often results in an increased cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood.
The way a child is brought up and the habits which are formed in early childhood often determines behavior and lifestyle choices later in life. That means that if a child is used to physical activity from a young age, he or she is much more likely to stay active in adolescence as well as in adulthood.
Raising children is not always an easy task. As a parent, you have to keep your child well fed, healthy, safe, happy, always prepared for school and much more. Trying to keep your child active on top of all these things might not always be so easy.
We bring you 7 helpful tips on how to encourage your kids to stay active:
- Start Early!
It is never too early to start building that habit of movement in your child. Some studies show that even something like infant massages and exercises make moving more natural to the child and therefore they are much more likely to stay active later.
- Change it up!
Let your kids try a variety of different sports and activities. This way they can develop a wide range of skills and find out what they enjoy and are good at. Often when kids specialize in a specific sport too early, they can get burned out or injured quicker.
- Spend time outdoors!
Spending time outside almost always involves some kind of physical activity. Create many opportunities for the whole family to spend some time outside in the park, by the lake or hiking.
- Be a role model!
Don’t tell your kids to go play outside while you watch your favorite TV show. Don’t tell them to be active when in day to day life you are barely moving! Take them on a small jog with them, take the stairs with them, go biking with them, play outside with them. Show them how it’s done!
- This instead of that!
Make it a daily habit to choose stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of driving or playing outside instead of watching TV. Come up with some fun ‘This instead of that’ activities for your family!
- Always support them!
Try to spot which physical activities your child enjoys and encourage them to do more of it. But at the same time recognize which activities they do not enjoy and don’t push or pressure them!
- Keep it fun!
Most kids are not ready for competitive games and activities until they are 10 or older. Keep games stress-free to allow them to be successful no matter what their skill level is.
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