The modern world is full of distractions for young and older children alike - and most of them involve a screen of some sort. There is so much choice for little ones these days when it comes to entertainment, whether it’s playing the occasional game on mummy’s phone or an endless stream of children’s channels on the TV. The trouble is, when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, sitting in front of a bright screen of any size isn’t doing them all that much good.
It’s tough for parents, of course. We all lead increasingly hectic and busy lives and trying to fit in a career with childcare, and basic house chores is an endless battle. It’s often just easier to plonk the little ones in front of the telly while you get on with everything you need to do. However, with a little savvy thinking and creativity, there are some easy things you can do to ensure your child has a healthy attitude towards physical activity and gets the exercise they need every week. Let’s take a look at some simple suggestion right now.
While schools will give your kids PE classes, the reality is they will only occur a maximum of twice a week in the vast majority of cases. That said, many schools run clubs and groups after the home time bell, and you’ll often find they are completely free. It’s a good idea to sign your children up for a couple of sporty classes - not only will it give them some much-needed exercise, but it will also give you some free childcare!
On your bike
The vast majority of children out there love being on a bicycle, so why not trade in a few car journeys a week for a good old biking experience? There are bikes available for all kinds of budgets, and the second-hand market is thriving on places like eBay and Gumtree. Then it’s just a case of buying some helmets, sorting out your bicycle insurance, and teaching them how to ride without stabilisers. Once the whole family is confident on two wheels, you’ll find the kids will love the independence and beneficial exercise they get from cycling - whether it’s to school or to the shops!
Get a dog
No matter how much you have on your plate, a pet dog can bring you a lot of joy - and exercise - into your life. True, a couple of walks every day will be hard to fit in, and if you are exceptionally busy, it’s best to consider something like a cat as a pet instead. However, the health benefits of dog ownership are widely known, and making a brisk walk a part of your child’s daily routine is an excellent way to encourage them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Active screen time
OK, so inevitably there will be times when the little ones want to play computer games, and even the strictest parents can often find it hard to battle against. So, why not consider buying them active games instead? Most of the current crop of games consoles all have motion sensors and plenty of games that encourage a lot of exercises. There are dancing games, for example, and a lot of sports tournament titles which make your kids get up and move. Even a half hour of frenetic jumping around every day could prove to be incredibly healthy!
Hope this helps - any more suggestions to add?