The marked increase in childhood obesity rates is largely due to the the quality and quantity of foods that are being service. A marked decrease in physical activity among this demographic, however, is also playing a considerable role. Learning all that you can about keeping kids fit – how to get them off the couch is vital for raising children that are healthy, happy and well-adjusted.
It is first important for parents to take stock of the number of technical devices that their children are using. Most young adults have televisions, game systems, laptops and mobile phones at their disposal. Although they might not be watching a lot of television each day, they can still spend an unacceptable amount of time sitting in front of glowing screens.
Cutting back screen time by establishing strict rules for technology use is fast becoming a critical decision. Not only can too much time spent in front of a screen lead to waning physical health, but it can also have a negative impact on a child’s mental health by diminishing impulse control, decreasing the ability to focus and muting important emotions.
Most pediatricians recommend limiting all screen time to just one to two hours per day. This might be difficult to enforce at first, but it will definitely provide a number of immediate and long-term benefits. It teaches youngsters self control. Once parents know how many different screens their children have access to, they can also begin eliminating redundancies in order to limit frustration. It is perfectly okay for growing children to lose outside contact with the rest of the world from time to time, so long a their parents know their whereabouts.
Try creating a fun, outdoor area for your kids. This space should be age-appropriate and flexible enough to adapt to quickly changing needs. You can put a trampoline in your backyard, build a modest tree house, or simply let your children take their camping gear to the exterior of the property and host a campout right nearby. You’ll be able to see them from your back window and you won’t have to worry about countless hours being spent in front of the television.
Look for trails and other geographic features that they can safely explore in your neighborhood. Have you kids take long hikes several times per week and make sure that they are either riding their bikes or walking when traveling to locations that are not far from your home. You may be spending too much time shuttling your youngsters around in your car when what they really need is physical exercise. Take a drive around the neighborhood together in order to identify the safest walking paths and to discuss rules pertaining to personal conduct and safety. Siblings can travel together and kids who lack siblings can recruit their friends. It is also important to encourage your children to maintain relationships with friends who make staying active a top priority as well.
Invest in fun, sporting equipment that your little ones can use outside. Think about getting padded boxing gloves, a small, above-ground swimming pool or a simple basketball hoop. Having access to resources like these will encourage kids to get up and try something new. If you have limited funds, see if other parents on your block want to pitch in to create a collection of sports equipment that all local children can enjoy.
Consider joining a gym that caters to kids. Family gyms abound and these are great places for getting kids active and engaged. Many of these locations host swimming classes, swimming teams, gymnastics programs and other high-energy activities. There are also gymnastics clubs, dance studios and karate studios that offer kids classes. These activities also have a strong social component which is great for all-around health at this stage of life.
Purchase workout equipment that can be used by your kids inside of the home. Teens and pre-teens will love having access to a treadmill or stationary bike. Best of all, they can continue using these things even when the weather grows cold and outdoor exercise becomes more of a challenge.
Get active with your children. This will allow you to lead by example. Youngsters pay attention to their parents and they are more likely to mimic what you do than they are to simply take your advice on establishing healthy life habits. Talking a walk together after dinner, going canoeing or taking bike rides on the weekend are all great ways to spend more quality time with you kids. Best of all, these activities are free and they will help your youngsters stay fit, active and fully engaged.