Eight Tips to Get Your Kids Active

by David Egan on January 10, 2013

Healthy girl on a bicycle

Being active is crucial for good health – getting kids active helps prevent obesity and serious illness in later life

Encouraging children to be active helps them to burn off excess energy and will leave them (and you!) in a better mood!

Helping our children to be active is also a vital way to ensure that they lead happy and healthy lives. Regular exercise helps children to avoid illnesses like heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, improves mood, reduces stress and can even help children to do well at school.

1. Get Interested

Show an interest in any activities your child likes and encourage them to try out new physical activities. If your kid loves ballet, it’s time to suck up any personal reservations you might have and get behind your child!

2. Don’t Drive so Much

We can all be more active as part of our daily lives. Walk rather than drive and encourage your kids to cycle and walk where possible.

If you’re out with the kids on the bus, why not get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way to your destination? Being active throughout daily life by walking and cycling is a great way for your children to achieve their daily 60 minutes of activity.

3. Help Kids to be Sporty

Playing sport is a great way for children to be active. If your kids don’t like traditional sports,  there are lots of alternatives: mountain biking, skateboarding, BMX, mountain climbing & surfing are all excellent and are becoming more widely available.

Schools can help children to be more active by offering alternative sports and activities such as hip-hop dance, tae-kwon-do, step aerobics, zumba etc.

It’s important that children should have access to activities that interest them. If you find that your child is not interested in taking part in PE at school, find out what’s on offer and  encourage the school to provide alternative physical activities.

4. Shall We Dance?

Not all kids are into sport, but there are lots of other ways to be active. Hobbies such as dance are excellent ways to get kids moving. Dance is an excellent way to develop fitness, agility, balance and co-ordination. Hip hop dance, street dance, salsa, tap, ballet & Irish dancing are great ways to keep your kids active.

5. Take Control of the TV

A recent study found that kids in the UK spend on average 5 hours per day in front of a screen: watching TV, surfing the web and playing computer games. This amount of screen time makes it really hard for kids to have an active healthy life. Take control of the TV, and ration their screen-time! See our top tips on managing your child’s screen time.

6. Get Active Yourself!

You are your child’s most important role model – so if you are a couch potato, don’t expect your kids to be active! Get yourself active – the habit will rub off on your kids.

7. Be Active Together

Why not bond with the kids by doing some physical activity together? It’s important that you set a good example – you are your child’s most important role model – and the activity will improve your own health as well!

  • Go for walks or play active games together
  • Play a game of ball together
  • Join an exercise class together
  • Play physical games with family and friends (tag, frisbee, catch, hide and seek)
  • Plan a nightly jog or walk
  • Go golfing as a family
  • Play a game of one-on-one basketball or soccer with family

8. Play Every Day!

Junk food Bag of Potato Chips

When your child has been active, don’t undo all the good work by giving them junk food afterwards!

All work and no play certainly makes for a dull life. Children (of all ages!) need to play, and adults need to set the scene so that children can lead their own play activities.

Probably the best way to ensure that younger children achieve the recommended minimum 60 minutes of physical activity per day is to let them play. Unstructured and unsupervised play is a great way for children to be active. If you can’t let your children play without supervision, try to watch over them from a distance. See our article on how to encourage active play.

See our physical activity page for more resources to get kids active.

How do you keep your kids active? Do you struggle to get the kids off the sofa? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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