How Do You Get Your Child Moving? Does your child enjoy playing video games or watching cartoons more than playing outside? Does he or she stomp and pout when you encourage them to get fresh air? Times have changed. Gone are the days that you see children riding bikes, pitching balls, climbing trees or playing hide and seek. Through no fault of their own, the world had become a place for gaming and unhealthy eating. The United States ranks fifth in the world for childhood obesity.
Although the world is changing, it is still our responsibility as parents to ensure that our children are healthy. Serving nutritious, healthy meals and getting our children moving is essential. I have memories of chasing fireflies, playing hopscotch, climbing monkey bars, and playing wiffle ball as a child, it’s rare to see children doing any of these things today.
We have become a nation of junk food junkies to the point where schools have removed it from the vending machines. Puerto Rico is considering fining parents of overweight children. Should parents be held accountable for their unhealthy children?
I grow up eating sweets and treats, but we didn’t sit around playing video games all day and night. After breakfast if the weather was nice, we were sent outside to play. We came in for lunch and to rest. Afterwards we were back outside until dinner. We played indoor games only if it was cold, snowing or raining. Once the snow stopped, we were sent outside to build a snowman, make snow angels or sled ride.
My grandchildren are gamers. They have a Play Station, Xbox and Kindles. They eat sweets and love junk food too, but they also understand the importance of exercising. They understand because it is being taught. We may not be able to get many vegetables into them, but they eat fruit and healthy meals. We also have them involved in organized sports so they can learn the basics of the game and learn to play on a team. It’s also a good way for them to get the exercise they need, which seems to be the main reason for obesity today.
Here are my tips for encouraging your child to get moving:
- Get your child involved in organized sports – Find an age appropriate group and sign your child up to place baseball, football, soccer or basketball.
- Encourage them to ride their bikes – You can get moving too. Purchase a bike or walk behind them.
- Spend an evening catching fireflies or butterflies during the day – I purchased butterfly catchers for my grandchildren. They love running through the yard catching them while I’m working in the garden.
- Play a game of hop scotch – This game never gets old and it’s great exercise.
- Have a Sack Race – This is a fun activity and can be done with a few friends or a family in the backyard.
- Start a garden – It can be flowers or vegetables. Spend time with them watering, weeding and nurturing the plants. ( I will be doing a post on gardening in small spaces).
- Plan a day at your local park – Great time to set up a play date, pack an old fashioned picnic basket and enjoy the day.
- Purchase cheap cameras – Plan a day where they can walk and take pictures. On rainy days start a scrapbook. They’ll have fun looking at their good and not so good pictures.
- Get family involved – Play a game of baseball, basketball or pitching a football as a family. I pitch baseball and play basketball with my grandson. I’ve surprised him a few times shooting basketball. Yep, grandma can still play ball.
- Sign them up for swim lessons or karate – Get them involved in your local recreational center.
Getting our children moving is imperative on our war against obesity. Children need sunshine exercise, and fresh air. Unplug and join the war on obesity. What outside activities do your children enjoy?
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