How to Get Kids Moving
Keeping kids and teens active can seem like an uphill battle. Between TV, the latest video games, and Facebook, it’s easy to go for days without exercise.
But kids need exercise to build strength and bone mass, stay at a healthy weight, reduce stress, and feel good about themselves. All kids and teens should get at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day—yet many don’t.
So what can you do? Get moving yourself! If you embrace exercise and make it enjoyable, your children are more likely to be active and stay active. These suggestions can help:
Invite friends to play outside. Old favorites such as tag, kickball, and hide-and-seek are fun for kids of all ages. Encourage your kids to come up with their own outdoor games. Take turns hosting with other parents who want to keep their kids active.
Turn your garage, basement, or spare room into an all-weather playroom. Even when it rains, sleets, or snows, kids will still have a place to jump, run, climb, and dance.
Give the gift of fitness. For birthdays and other holidays, buy presents that encourage activity. A baseball glove, a basketball, a bicycle, or in-line or ice skates will put a smile on your child’s face—and create an opportunity to learn a new sport.
Explore your neighborhood together. Hit the streets on foot or bike instead of driving. Try walking or biking to school and to run errands.
Get help with chores. Have kids wash floors, mow the lawn, do some gardening, or walk the dog.
Limit the total television, computer, and video game time to one to two hours a day. If your children do play video games, try to choose games that require some physical exertion.
In the Community
Discover an activity your child enjoys and find a club or team. Consider whether your child would enjoy team sports or a more individual activity. Look for a program that matches your child’s skill level. Offer encouragement when your child wants to try new activities.
Volunteer with your child for active community service. Help clean up local streets, parks, or school yards, for instance.
Find fun outdoor activities in your community. Take part as a family in apple picking, hiking, nature walks, or bicycling groups.
Take younger children to parks and playgrounds often. Widen your family’s social contacts by finding a playgroup with other parents or start one yourself.
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