In this day and age, kids seem to be going outside to play less and less, and that has resulted in general negative health trends among younger generations. Because of this, living an active lifestyle and exercising regularly is more important than ever, and the duty of encouraging that lifestyle falls to parents. So, how do you help your kid lead an physically active and healthy lifestyle that they’ll enjoy? Let’s take a look.
1. Limit Screen Time
Of course, the problem with encouraging your children to spend more time in outdoor games is that you’ll have to start by encouraging them to spend less time inside, so it’s best to get that discussion out of the way early on. Rather than forcing them to go outside, place a few reasonable limits on the screen time for kids per day they can partake in electronic activities like watching TV or playing video games. While they may be upset or resistant to this at first, once they realize how much there is to do outdoors, they’ll forget that they ever missed their extra screen time to begin with.
2. Fuel an Active Lifestyle
Of course, if your kid is going to engage in active outdoor play, they need to consume a diet that will provide them with plenty of energy to do so. Be sure to provide a balanced diet that includes plenty of healthy vegetables, leafy greens, and lean protein. To encourage them to eat the healthier food you’re making, involve your kids in the meal prep process. Whether it’s just picking the recipes or actively helping you cook, kids are much more appreciative of the food that they helped make, so getting them to eat healthy will be far easier.
3. Make Time Outdoors a Routine Thing
The reason that many attempts to get outside more often fail is because of a lack of time. It seems like there’s never enough time to do everything you want, but while you may have to make some sacrifices, it’s entirely possible to establish a regular outdoor time routine for you and your children. Be intentional about going outside several times a day at around the same time, using activities like going on daily walks with the dog to do so. Eventually, finding time to go outside will no longer be a struggle for you and your family.
4. Encourage Them to Join a Sport
One of the best possible ways to get your kids outside and get them to be more active is by enrolling them in a sport. While sports aren’t for everyone, if your kids are the athletic type, then have a chat with them about their interests. Look with them for a sport they enjoy, and find a local children’s league near you. If they end up enjoying the sport, you not only have a way for them to play outside on a near-daily basis, you also have an opportunity for some family bonding time by helping them practice.
5. Encourage Them to Find Fun Activities
If your children aren’t interested in sports, though, that’s completely fine! There are plenty of non-sport activities that kids of all ages can enjoy outdoors. A few of our favorite ways to get non-sporty kids outside include low-intensity games like four square, or more creative activities like coloring with sidewalk chalk. Of course, you know your child best, and if you’re willing to get creative, a surprising number of indoor hobbies can be adapted to the great outdoors, so do some experimenting with your child until you find something that they enjoy doing.
6. Provide Them With Play Equipment
Of course, if you want your kids to engage in these outdoor activities, you need to make sure they have the means to do so. If they’re playing a sport, for example, be sure they always have the equipment they need to stay safe and succeed. If they’re going on frequent walks with you, be sure they have a comfortable pair of shoes that give their feet proper support. Essentially, look at what they need to partake in a certain activity, and be sure that they’re never without it, allowing them to spend all the time they need and want in the great outdoors.
7. Lead by Example
Of course, the best way to get your kids to be more physically active is to be more physically active yourself. Adults need time outdoors just as much as children, so every member of the family stands to benefit from spending time outdoors. If you’re going outside with them, your kids won’t view outdoor activities as something they have to do, but a chance to spend some quality time with their parents and siblings.
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