Keeping Kids Active
As children get older, it can be a challenge for them to get enough daily activity. This can be due to:
- increasing demands at school
- a feeling among some kids that they aren't good at sports
- a lack of active role models
- busy working families
And even if children have the time and the desire to be active, the current restrictions can make activity challenging.
In spite of these barriers, parents can teach a love of physical activity and help children fit it into their everyday lives. Doing so can set healthy patterns that will last into adulthood.
Benefits of Being Active
When children are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Why? Because regular exercise provides these benefits:
- strong muscles and bones
- healthy weight
- decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- better sleep
- a better outlook on life
- Physically active children also are more likely to be motivated, focused, and successful in school. And mastering physical skills builds confidence at every age.
What Motivates Children?
So, there's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, but how do you encourage children to do it? The three keys are:
- Choosing the right activities for a child's age: If you don't, the child may be bored or frustrated.
- Giving children plenty of opportunity to be active: Keeping the focus on fun: children won't do something they don't enjoy.
- When children enjoy an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing a skill improves their abilities and helps them feel accomplished, especially when the effort is noticed and praised. These good feelings often make children want to continue the activity and even try others.
The best way for children to get physical activity is by incorporating physical activity into their daily routine. Toddlers and pre-schoolers should play actively several times a day. Children 6 to 17 years should do 60 minutes or more physical activity daily.
Pre-schoolers need play and exercise that helps them continue to develop important motor skills — kicking or throwing a ball, playing tag or follow the leader, hopping on one foot, riding a trike or bike with training wheels, or running obstacle courses.
School-age: With school-age children spending more time in front of screens, the challenge for parents is to help them find physical activities they enjoy and feel successful doing.
As children learn basic skills and simple rules in the early school-age years, there might only be a few athletic standouts. As children get older, differences in ability and personality become more apparent. Commitment and interest level often go along with ability, which is why it's important to find an activity that's right for your child.
Teens: Teens have many choices when it comes to being active — from school sports to after-school interests, such as yoga or skateboarding. It's a good idea to have an exercise plan since it often has to be sandwiched between school and other commitments.
Kids' Fitness Personalities
In addition to a child's age, it's important to consider his or her fitness personality. Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence children’s attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities, particularly as they get older.
Which of these three types best describes your child?
- The nonathlete: This child may lack athletic ability, interest in physical activity, or both.
- The casual athlete: This child is interested in being active but isn't a star player and is at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment.
- The athlete: This child has athletic ability, is committed to a sport or activity, and likely to ramp up practice time and intensity of competition.
If you understand the concepts of temperament and fitness types, you'll be better able to help your children find the right activities and get enough exercise — and find enjoyment in physical activity. Some children want to pursue excellence in a sport, while others may be perfectly happy and fit as casual participants.
Be active yourself and support your children’s interests. If you start this early enough, they'll come to regard activity as a normal — and fun — part of your family's everyday routine.
Social media has so many resources available and ideas for entertaining the kids, for example windows across the world have transformed into colourful canvases as children post rainbow pictures to brighten the public’s mood.
The “chase the rainbow” trend has seen kids and their families in the UK, US and beyond painting and drawing multicoloured displays along with messages of hope.
There are also lots of other blogs and ideas for you to look at on platforms like Instagram, these are some of our favourites….
Home School Funny Fails
Forestry England Kids Activities
Keeping Children Safe Online
UK Government Home School Support
Irish Government Home School Support
Please share your ideas and recommendations, and if your children would like to chase the rainbow with Swissport, send us your pictures and we will add them to the next edition! Happy colouring!