As parents, we want to make sure our children are getting plenty of physical activity each day, right? We know it’s good for their physical health: exercise help brains develop, improves IQ scores, and lowers risk of obesity and diabetes. Plus, it’s great for emotional health – a child who’s out exercising and playing is a happier child!
But, here’s an unexpected wake up call. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, it’s time for us parents to get moving, too!
A new study used activity monitors to track the activity level of more than 500 mothers and their preschool-aged children. They found a strong link between the activity of the mother and the activity of the child. The more active the mother was each day, the more active her child was.
They also found that, on average, moms were only getting 30 minutes of activity per week. They suggested that most of the mother’s moderately vigorous activity was during the week when their child was in school or daycare. With so much research showing how physical activity directly improves health, we need to prioritize our own activity levels to help our children become more active, healthy little people!
Tips to Get Moving Together
Between gym class and recess, school children are much more active during the week. Every parent knows how hectic weekends can be, but this is the perfect opportunity for working out together, bonding, and becoming healthier individuals. Take the reigns and make it happen!
1. Make it Fun
No child wants to be forced to do an activity that they don’t like. (No adult likes that either!) Instead, get outside and find out what activities interest your child. Throw a Frisbee, catch a football, play hide-and-go-seek. Ask them what they like to do and create a game around it. Struggling? Make something up that’s silly. Have them make the rules, draw the boundaries and use their imagination. One 30-minute game, 3 separate 10-minute games, or sudden sprints all count! Put on your child’s favorite song and have a dance party! Run the stairs while waiting for a football game to start. Skip around the yard waiting for the school bus. Every minute of fun movement is precious and supports better health.
2. Play with Friends
Kids love to play with other kids. Join up with another parent and have a work out-playdate. Go snow shoeing or ice skating in the winter instead of the movies, meet them for a hike (call it an “adventure in the woods”), or go swimming at your local community pool. Try surfing lessons at the beach!
3. Invite the Kids to Your Workout
Are you a yogi? Do you love to run? Do you have a playlist of your favorite at-home exercise routines that you try to shoehorn in when the kids are at school? Invite them to the party, instead! These forms of exercise provide a challenge with a goal-oriented focus and timeline – perfect for any distractable child to follow.
Ask your child what his or her favorite activities are and make them a part of your new, healthy routine. It’s a powerful part of your child’s health, your health and helps grow your relationship!