The number of overweight preschoolers has doubled over the past ten years. Even as they get older, it can be a challenge for kids to get enough daily activity. Reasons include increasing demands of school, a feeling among some kids that they aren't good at sports, a lack of active role models, and busy working families.
In spite of these barriers, parents can instill a love of activity and help kids fit it into their everyday lives. Doing so can set healthy patterns that will last a lifetime.
5 Fun Tips to Keep Children Active
1. Make Chores Fun! - Instead of delegating each member of the family to doing separate chores by themselves, turn chores into a game you can all do together! Race to see how fast you can get the house cleaned, and then try to beat your old time the next week. Play music while you’re doing laundry, and enlist the kids to sing and dance while helping to fold and put clothes away with the freeze dance game. Take the dog for walks together, and squeeze in some running, roller-skating, or jump rope while you’re at it!
2. Provide Healthy Snacks - Active kids need the right fuel for their growing bodies. You’ll find kid-friendly recipes for nutritious snacks like Ants on a Log or peanut butter apples that you can make together at home.
3. Don't Overdo It - Exercise and physical activity should not hurt. If this occurs, your child should slow down or try a less vigorous activity. As with any activity, it is important not to overdo it. If your child's weight drops below an average, acceptable level or if exercise or starts to interfere with school or other activities, talk with your child's doctor.
4. Choose an Activity that is Developmentally Appropriate - For example, a 7- or 8-year-old child is not ready for weightlifting or a 3-mile run, but soccer, bicycle riding, jumping on a trampoline and swimming are all appropriate activities for that age.
5. Provide a Safe Environment - Make sure your child's equipment for the sport or activity are safe. Make sure your child's clothing is comfortable and appropriate. Research safety for that particular sport or activity before starting.
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