We all know it can be difficult to keep children active in the age of technology. However, encouraging their participation in physical activities can help them establish positive habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.
In this article, we tell you the importance of physical activity for kids and give you tips for motivating and inspiring them to be more active!
TODAY’S TECH DRIVEN WORLD: FROM SPORTS TO SCREENS
The transition from hours of sports to hours of screens is a phenomenon that many of us have observed in the youth in our lives. It seems that the rise of technology has created a shift in how kids and young people spend their leisure time. Where once they may have spent hours outdoors engaging in physical activities and team sports, they now seem to be more drawn to the digital world, spending hours in front of screens playing video games or scrolling through social media.
Physical activity and free play is critical for maintaining good health, both physically and mentally, so this shift in kids behavior is concerning, and action is needed.
WHY KIDS NEED TO BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
It's essential for kids to be active (from moderate to vigorous physical activity) regularly to develop into healthy adults while reaping countless benefits from physical exercise. Some of these benefits are:- Regular exercise reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- Staying active has lifelong advantages and improves mental health in children by enhancing mood, reducing anxiety, stress and depression symptoms, and boosting self-esteem.
- Improves sleep.
- Exercise help them with concentration, memory, and learning in school!
- Physical activity and play helps children develop cognitive skills such as:
- decision making
- spatial awareness
- Teaches effective communication, teamwork and sportsmanship.
- Improves an overall sense of well-being.
So, it's crystal clear that keeping your kids active is one of the best things you can do for their physical and mental health, and happiness!
HOW TO KEEP KIDS PHYSICALLY ACTIVE1. MAKE EXERCISE A GAME
Getting kids interested in physical activity can be a challenge if it feels like a chore. That's why it's important to find out what activities they already enjoy. By doing this, you can make exercise feel less like a chore and more like a fun game.
Gamifying exercise can also be a great way to make it fun. Here are a few ideas:
- Obstacle courses. These are especially good for younger kids, who may not be able to run long distances but can still do jumping jacks and other basic movements. Set up some obstacles (like cones or chairs) in an open space and let them race through them! You could also have them do different exercises at each obstacle--for example, jumping jacks at one cone and pushups at another.
- Scavenger hunts/treasure hunts/treasure map with physical challenges along the way instead of just finding objects on paper like "find something red" or "take a picture of an animal." It's also fun if there are prizes involved--you could have stickers as rewards for completing tasks successfully (e.g., if someone finds an object that matches what they're looking for), or even small toys if they complete all tasks successfully within a certain amount of time limit (e.g., 30 minutes).
Encourage your kids to try new sports and activities.
- Yoga: It's a great way to get kids moving, but it's also relaxing and meditative. It can help calm them down when they're feeling anxious or stressed out.
- Dance classes: Another fun way to get active! Music definitely makes the experience enjoyable and motivating for kids and youth. The beats and rhythms energize them, resulting in more participation in physical activity.
- Martial arts: This is another option for kids who want something more challenging than yoga or dance classes; these classes focus on self-defense techniques as well as fitness goals such as strength building and flexibility training.
- Swimming: When done regularly, it strengthens the heart and lungs, and helps maintain a healthy weight while giving a whole-body workout that boosts strength and endurance. Plus, it's an awesome way to play water-exclusive games with you child. Get ready to make a splash!
3. MAKE SCREEN TIME ACTIVE
With screen-based social activities being the norm for kids, it's easy to get lost in the world of instant gratification. While screen time can be a valuable source of learning, entertainment, and earning opportunities, it can also consume too much time. Before you know it, your child may have no time for anything else!
That's why it's important to make sure that your kid has the necessary sports gear within their reach, like bikes, balls or skipping ropes, and a safe space to play and be active.
A very innovative and super enjoyable way to turn screen time into active fun are the Playfinity games, which are an excellent way to engage kids in physical activities while also incorporating what they love: screens. Playfinity Active Gaming strikes a perfect balance between video game elements and actual physical play, making it a popular choice among kids aged 6 to 14. It's a fun and engaging way for kids to stay active and healthy while enjoying the technology.
4. INCLUDE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO DAILY ROUTINE
Incorporating exercise into your kids' daily routines is as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, biking, walking or running instead of driving short distances.
A quick dance number before meals, a ten-minute walk around the block after dinner, or jumping jacks during commercials can all be subtle ways to encourage physical movement. Doing these activities together is also a great way to bond with your kiddo and make some unforgettable memories that they'll cherish as they grow up.
5. ENCOURAGE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
One of the best ways to keep your kids active is to encourage them to play outside. Whether it's playing ball, riding bikes, jumping on a trampoline or just running around, outdoor play is a fun way to get exercise and fresh air.
Plan outdoor activities with friends or family members - sports like baseball or soccer/football are great ways for kids to get outdoor exercise while having fun at the same time! If they enjoy group activities, think about arranging a weekly game day in someone's backyard where everyone can play together and socialize. You might also want to consider enrolling your child in an organized sports league; these often have games scheduled throughout the year so there will always be something new coming up soon enough!
6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
As a parent, you play a crucial role in shaping your child's habits and lifestyle, and one of the most effective ways to encourage a physically active lifestyle is by leading by example. Kids learn by observing, and if they see you leading an active lifestyle, they are more likely to follow suit. And the best part? Engaging in physical activities together as a family can be such a great bonding experience!
There are many ways you can model healthy habits for your kid. You could go for hikes as a family, join a sports league together, or participate in physical activities your kid enjoys, like swimming, dance, or playing ball. Whatever you choose to do, remember that leading by example is one of the most effective ways to instill healthy habits in your children.
Playfinity games provide an excellent opportunity for both parents and kids to get active together. These games are not only fun for kids to play alone or with friends, but they also offer an engaging way for families to bond while being physically active. And by modeling healthy habits for your kids, you encourage them to develop a lifelong love of physical activity.
7. REWARD YOUR KID'S PROGRESS
Celebrate their progress as they engage in physical activities, and let them know how proud you are of their efforts. This positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and promotes a healthy mindset that exercise is a positive and enjoyable thing to do. By making exercise a rewarding experience, you help your kid develop a lifelong love for physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
As you can see, there are a lot of fun and easy ways to motivate and inspire your kid to get physically active. The most important thing is to make sure that they get the 60 minutes (or more!) of physical activity per day recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's never too early or late to start!