Ready, set and go! Top tips to encourage kids to be more active
Lifestyles have changed so much compared to a generation ago. When we were growing up it wasn’t uncommon to be playing street cricket with the neighbourhood kids ‘til late, riding our bikes for hours over the weekend and hanging around the park that little longer after school. Now, there are new societal factors impacting our behaviour.
For example, we have so much more access to technology, new electronic gadgets to entertain us, increasingly busy lives and a reluctance to let kids out of sight to roam and ride around exploring their surrounds due to increasing safety concerns. No wonder it is more of a challenge for children to be as active as they should. So, what can parents do to encourage kids to be more active?
1. Set an example – Children follow their parents’ example, so the first step starts here! Perhaps parents need to get outside more often and show how exercise is part of normal life. It’s a great reason to put the phone away, turn off the TV and computer and have time together away from these distractions.
2. Family activity – Start a new family routine that involves being active. For example, go for a short walk after dinner every night, go swimming or kick the ball around at the park every Saturday morning. This shows that being active can be fun, pleasurable and part of the weekly routine.
3. Compromise – Many kids are now introduced to electronic gadgets at a younger age than ever before. These electronic toys can be quite distracting in some households. Set some rules so that electronic game playing doesn’t distract kids from staying active. A suggestion might be that for every 20 minutes children play on a gadget, they stop and play another 20 minutes outside, perhaps on their bike or throwing hoops or anything else that gets them moving and having fun.
4. Be social – Try out a group activity. Team sports are an ideal way be active, forge new friendships and develop important social skills at the same time.
5. Have fun – When children engage in a physical activity they genuinely enjoy, being active is a pleasurable way for them to spend time. Kids might not know immediately what sport they would enjoy participating in the most. If this is the case why not try out a few different sports as a way of assessing what is right for your child – and what they would enjoy the most. Many groups offer a complimentary trial class.
6. Set boundaries – Give your children set times when they play outside and limit TV, games and computer time. We’ve even heard of some families who have one night a week free from electronic devices – and that rule is not just for the kids, it’s parents too!
7. Involve children in your exercise routine – If you go for regular walks, why not encourage the kids to join you with their bike/scooter. Kids over six benefit from at least one hour a day of physical activity and this is another way to encourage them to be active.
Being active has so many benefits for children, as well as for parents. Some of the ways children benefit from being more active are that they are fitter, stronger, sleep better and have sharper concentration levels. Team exercise can even help with developing and strengthening social skills. So it makes sense that if children are more active they will enjoy the rewards of a healthier lifestyle.
To coincide with the launch of “That!”, the innovative new healthy dairy snack for kids, the Australian company behind the brand, ProPortion Foods, has joined forces with organisations such as the Victorian Institute of Sport to provide schools Australia-wide with free motivational talks. That! Heroes are a team of inspiring stars touring Australian schools with stories about the dreams they have been able to achieve with happy, healthy habits.
If you would like an inspiring star to visit your child’s school, contact [email protected] for more information. Visit www.thatdairysnack.com.au to learn more about That! Dairy Snack or visit www.facebook.com/ThatSnack for a fresh burst of health and wellbeing ideas for the whole family.
That! Fast Facts:
1. That! Dairy Snack provides 20% of the calcium your child needs each day 1
2. That! Dairy Snack is gluten-free and contains no artificial flavours or colours
3. That! Dairy Snack has less saturated fat and sugar than most yoghurts
4. That! Dairy Snack has less than half the sugar of most fruit juices
5. That! Dairy Snack has been developed to meet strict nutritional criteria and is a Healthy Kids Registered ‘Green’ product. This means That! Dairy Snack has been identified as a healthier choice snack for children and includes important nutrients to assist in a child’s growth and development.
That! Dairy Snack is available at school canteens and has a recommended retail price of $1.95.