In a time when video games, iPads, and other forms of technology reign supreme, it is increasingly difficult to get children outside for the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. The rise of fast food popularity has also added to the difficulty parents face with keeping their children fit and healthy. Parents hold an influential position when it comes to children and are held to many high standards with child rearing. As authors of an article for activekids.com, Maria Masters and Adam Bornstein, put it, America’s fight against childhood obesity starts with parents. The authors also provided ten rules in their article to keep kids active.
The first of their ten rules is to not rely on organized sports. According to the article, a recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows less than 25 percent of student athletes participate in the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. This means parents should be sure to supplement additional exercise or activities into a child’s daily routine. Pick up some extra practice time in the backyard or go for a family walk or bike ride to help get those extra minutes in and provide a positive example for the kids under your care and guidance.
Another subject touched on in the article is the use of food as a reward. Oftentimes sweet treats such as ice cream are used to congratulate children on positive test scores or making the basketball team; however, this kind of reinforcement negates a parent’s urgings for healthy eating and can even teach children that it is good to eat even if they are not hungry. This does not mean that children can never enjoy something sweet, but it does mean they should not be rewarded with like treats as this leads to poor habits.
Other ways to increase a child’s playtime is to schedule playdates and encourage play with others. Having others the same age to play with make a kid two to three times more likely to be physically active according to the article.
By providing an example of healthy choices and consistent physical activity, a parent can almost ensure the overall health and wellness of their child. It is important to live this example through action, not just words to really have a positive impact. Live a lifestyle of activity, and children will too. For more rules, the article referenced can be found at http://www.activekids.com/parenting-and-family/articles/10-rules-to-keep-kids-active and remember to just make it fun.