If you are concerned that your kids are not getting enough exercise and may be spending too much time looking at a screen, you are not alone. It has been estimated that nearly two-thirds of all parents in the United States feel the same way. In fact, the American Heart Association has reported they think kids who are older than two years old need at least 60 minutes every day. The good news is that there are lots of ways to get your kids to be more active. If you look around your community, you may find commercial structures that have installed indoor soft play equipment or have put in commercial indoor play structures so that kids can have a space to play even when the weather is bad. Here are some other things you can do.
- Have a dog? Take him or her for a walk with your kids. Kids love their pets. If you get a kitten, you can try to get them used to a leash if you start early enough. This is a true “three-fer.” Your family gets more activity, your pet gets the exercise they need, and you get to spend some quality time together.
- Put it in writing. Kids may rebel a bit against schedules but, at the end of the day, it helps keep everyone on track. Schedule time to go to a place with indoor soft play equipment during the colder months. Put bike rides, WII games, and trips to a place with kids indoor play structures on your weekly schedule. This can help everyone in your home dedicate themselves to staying active.
- Do it all at the right times of the day. Right after school is a great time to take your kids out for a bike ride, hike, or to play a sport you all enjoy. After kids have been in class all day need to work off all of their pent up energy. Another good time might be after dinner.
- Try different activities. Go to the pool. Go bowling. Find fun areas to take hikes in. Find the local places with commercial indoor playground equipment and indoor soft play equipment and spend time there. Variety is the spice of lie. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to getting exercise into your family’s day to day life.
- Take advantage of seasonal sports. People who live in areas of the United States that have long periods of cold weather often find joy in cross country skiing and ice skating. In the summer, going to the pool or beach can help take advantage of that season. It is good to plan ahead to schedule some activity but that does not mean you cannot have any spontaneity in your lives.
- Bring friends along. When it comes to parties and sports, the more is really the merrier. Bring your kids friends along. If you have friends who have children who are the same age as yours, get everyone in on the act. This just makes it more fun for everyone involved.
- Take advantage of the activities that are unique to your area. If you have a lot of bad weather where you live, look at the local spaces with indoor soft play equipment. If you live in a more natural setting, get out and take hikes, go on bike trips, and visit local parks. Many cities have a lot of options for working out in the great outdoors. For example, New York City may seem like the ultimate urban environment but it offers a plethora of options to get some exercise outdoors.
- Get your kids to sign up for just a few minutes. In physics, there is an axion, “objects in motion stay in motion, while objects at rest, stay at rest.” The hard part is getting kids off the couch. It is much easier to keep them playing.
A lot of getting your kids out to be active, is to do it yourselves. Kids tend to emulate the behavior they see in their parents. If they see you getting outside, becoming more active, and enjoying it, they will want to get out and play around too.