America’s children are more overweight than ever before despite continued efforts to educate and programs designed to increase activity and improve the nutritional value in school lunches. Parents can help their children become more active by taking the following ten steps.
1. Create safe places. Watch over children’s activities to ensure the environment is a safe and comfortable place for them to engage in physical activities. Children are more likely to be willing to engage in physical activity if they feel safe.
2. Set a good example. Children learn by watching their parents. When parents are active themselves, it is more likely children will follow the example. When parents are not active, yet pushing their children to be more active, children are less likely to comply.
3. Promote physical activity. Parents need to encourage their children to be more active not just at home, but also at school and with friends.
4. Limit sitting around time. Parents need to set limits on how much time their children are allowed to be sitting and engaged in non-physical activity such as watching television or playing on the computer.
5. Establish a routine. Studies have proven when people have exercise built in as part of a daily routine, they are more likely to continue exercising. This is also true for children. Routine physical activity is more likely to continue.
6. Coach a team. One way to involve children in physical activity is for parents to become directly involved by coaching a team. It does not have to be a intramural or city team; encourage children to participate in neighborhood sports.
7. Set up a home gym. Children can become involved by creating a gym using household items. Canned items can serve as weights; chairs can be used for bars or benches.
8. Engage children in aerobic activities. Take a family walk after dinner. Take t he child’s heart rate at the beginning, during and after the activity to show them how hard they are working.
9. Throw an activity party. Use celebratory events to engage children in physical activity. Include activities that require physical exertion instead of sit-down games.
10. Work with your children’s schools. Ensure your children’s schools offer time for physical activity for all students.
If parents take these steps to help their children become more active it can help reduce the obesity problems of many children. By setting good examples, parents too an reduce weight and lead more healthy lives.
The copyright of the article “10 Steps for Parents to Make Physical Activity Easy for Their Children” is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.