In this day and age of smartphones, tablets and smart televisions, children are more tech savvy than ever before. On the one hand, this is great as it stimulates their mental development. On the other hand, it can have a hugely detrimental effect on a child’s physical development. This means that you find innovative ways of encouraging your children to be physically active.
Why is it important for children to be physically active?
Children grow extremely quickly. For example, experts say that during a child’s first year of life they grow 25cm. No two children grow at the same rate however, they all experience a growth spurt which starts around the age of between eight and 10.
During this time of growth, it’s extremely important for children to be physically active. This is because physical activity will help them to develop their motor coordination skills and to strengthen their bones. In addition, cardiovascular activity – such as taking part in sports – will help their heart in its development. This will stand them in good stead in their later life as if the foundations of a strong and healthy heart are laid in childhood, that person will be less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and the like later in life.
What foods should you be feeding your child?
In conjunction with physical activity, your child should be getting the proper nutrients.
We recently wrote an article – entitled The Secret to Good Nutrition for Your Children – which spoke about what you should be feeding your children. Here’s a summary of what it said:
- A good portion of a child’s diet should consist of grains. These foods produce a LOT of energy which will fuel the child’s growth and physical activities.
- Your child should be eating foods which contain healthy fats, for example avocados, oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel) and nuts. This is because these fats assist in, among others, the development of the nervous system.
- As we said previously, from the time that they are born to the time that they finish puberty your child grows at the rate of knots. To fuel the growth of their muscles, feed them a good amount of protein such as fish or skinless chicken breasts. Steer clear of fatty cuts of meat as this will increase their levels of bad cholesterol which could lead to heart disease.
Tips on how to encourage your child to be physically active
There are a number of ways that you can encourage your children to play outside instead of becoming fixtures on your couch in front of the TV. Here are some suggestions.
Make TV a treat
One of the best ways to encourage your children to play outside is to only allow them to watch TV shows or movies as a treat. Don’t let them fall into the habit of seeing TV as a norm. Better yet, don’t have a TV in your living room that they can access. If you want a set in your home, rather have it in your bedroom, in a cupboard, so that your children can’t see it.
Play with them
When you come home from work, make an effort to join your children outside and participate in their activities. For example, if they’re practising their batting throw a cricket ball to them or, if they’re practising their tennis serve, suggest that you play a game together. The biggest treat that you can give your child is spending quality time with them.
Organise outdoor outings
To encourage your children to be physically active, why not organise an outing outdoors such as a hike or a bicycle ride? If you make exercising fun they will be more inclined to want to go on such an outing. Moreover, they will beg you to go again!
Encouraging your children to be active is as much a science as it is an art form. Yes, there are certain principles that you need to adhere to – such as only choosing age-appropriate activities – but at the same time you need to take your child’s personality into account when suggesting the activities that they may enjoy.
Do you want to learn more about how to integrate exercise into a child’s life? Are you are personal trainer who wants to branch out into training children? Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Exercise and Children Course will give you the underpinning knowledge that you need to assist children in exercise. Find out more here.