As aunts, uncles, cousins or parents, we want nothing more than for the children in our lives to be happy and healthy. Just as we take care of our children’s health meticulously when they are babies, it should be something that we pursue even as they grow older. Plus, there is plenty of good reason to do so. Studies from Public Health England show that around a third of 10-11 year olds and a fifth of 4-5 year olds are either overweight or obese. As family members who are close to the little people in our lives, this is a scary statistic. This childhood weight gain is said to be the effects of too many convenience foods and the impact of technology on young British children. After all, how many times have you seen your child spend entire evenings on the sofa playing on an iPad, or sat at the computer playing a video game? The culture of kids playing outside after school is quickly disappearing and as a result, our children are putting on weight. If you’re struggling to get the kids in your family to get active, try some of these tips.
Think beyond the sports hall
Organised sports aren’t for everyone, so don’t immediately assume that your child will be into them. In fact, many children develop a distaste of sport at a young age thanks to negative experiences in school teams or in P.E lessons. But, there are plenty of other sports available for them to try if you cast your net a little wider. If they’re a big music fan, suggest a dance class where they can learn routines to their favourite songs. Dance is a great cardiovascular activity and is a lot of fun too, so your child may not actually realise they are exercising. Rock climbing, horse riding and martial arts are all other types of fitness based activities that may inspire your child more than regular sports such as football or hockey.
Appeal to their competitive nature
For every child who is fine with simply taking part, there is another who believes it is all about winning. If the latter sounds like a child in your life, make the most of their competitive streak by encouraging them to enter sporting tournaments. Or, if you don’t have any around where you live, why not try making your own? Pick a nice afternoon in summer and get friends and family down to a local playing field where you put on races and activities for the kids. Get some prizes from a website such as www.trophiesplusmedals.co.uk to reward them for their efforts and make it into a fun, family experience.
Set a good example
Kids pick up on actions and habits very easily, so it is vital that you lead by example. If you yourself are very overweight and vegetate in front of the television every evening, you child is not going to take you seriously when you tell them that exercise is important. Make it your mission to get fit yourself and you will see how your child follows suit. Plus, speak to your local gym about classes and activities you could both do together, as this will further motivate your child.