Studies show kids need more activity and less sedentary time but how can you encourage active kids in your house. Before the invention of TV, computers, hand held games and texting, kids entertained themselves by playing, running, jumping and being outside.
Now kids spend a day at school with only a couple 20 minute breaks, a week at school with only a couple of gym classes, and (if not in organized sports) hours after school are prime screen time. Couple this with the processed package food flying off store shelves and its no wonder today’s kids are weighing more.
Give kids a few essentials to encourage not only active kids, but instill healthy habits to carry into adulthood and create an active lifestyle.
3 Essentials to Encourage Active Kids
Kids ready for school a little early? Toss a ball (& the kids) outside and watch happens. Get the kids inexpensive hula hoops and skipping ropes and remind them it’s there. Help them come up with new games to play by searching the internet and making a list of their favorites to try. Don’t over schedule the kids with organized activities, but build in some unstructured play time to let their imaginations get to work and create some fun activities.
Children love being active, but sometimes need a little nudge in that direction to get them started. Create an Activity Jar and when the kids are bored or need to switch gears, have them pull an activity from the jar and get them playing again.
Children look to their family members for role models, being active yourself encourages your child to follow. Tying up your running shoes and going for a jog with the kids is not only fun, but shows them that you are not afraid to try new things. Instead of watching the kids ride their bikes, get one yourself and ride to the park, the ice cream store or to explore your neighborhood.
Encourage your kids to get involved in extra curricular events at school like track and field or cross country running if it’s offered. Then show up on meet day and cheer them on. Make being active a part of your families healthy lifestyle.
Encourage healthy eating by having healthy food choices at home for healthy snack ideas. The processed packaged convenience foods that fill so many kids school lunches do not provide the nutrition kids need.
Parents are the ones who make the decisions at the grocery store and if you bring home the chocolate berry cereal and the squishy ‘real fruit’ snacks you know kids will eat them. Instead fill the fridge with real fruit, vegetables, greek yogurt and the pantry with whole grain, real fruit, seed and high fiber IronKids Nutrition snack bars. Bake home made cookies, muffins and healthy kid favorites like these spinach brownies to add to their lunches, you might be surprised to learn, the kids will eat them.
Repeatedly providing time for active free play, supporting them in activities they choose and exposing them to healthy food options are essential to encouraging active kids and an active lifestyle for years to come.