We all understand that being active is important for good health and wellbeing at any age. It can help build stronger bones and muscles, encourage better sleep patterns, boost self-esteem and more!
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than half (55%) of adults do not meet the physical activity guidelines, 2 in 3 children aged 2 – 17 (70%) don’t meet them and only 2% of teenagers aged 13 – 17 meet them.
The physical activity and exercise guidelines from the Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends the following for 5 – 17 year old’s:
- Physical Activity – At least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity per day.
- Sedentary Time – Break up long periods of sitting.
- Screen Time – No more than 2 hours per day.
- Sleep – Children aged 5 – 13 should get 9-11 hours while children aged 14 – 17 year should get 8-10 hours.
Making physical activity part of your family’s daily routine is not only fun, but also healthy. Whether you’re riding bikes, walking the dog, playing backyard cricket or dancing around the living room, you may establish a routine that could stay with your children throughout their life.
Get Moving As A Family
Lead by example by practicing healthy habits and engaging in physical activity throughout the day at home, your children will often notice and are likely to mimic your behaviour.
During the week try active transport by walking, cycling or scootering with the kids to school or sports training sessions.
On the weekend, ask children what they might like to do as a family and let each child take turns choosing an active activity. You could try these Family Friendly Hikes Near Brisbane, camping or outdoor games.
Consider giving gifts to family and friends that encourages outside movement like kites, skipping ropes, balls and frisbees.
Encourage Sports Participation
Encourage your children to try a few different sports as they’re more likely to keep exercising if they’re doing an activity they enjoy. Check out these tips on Saving On Sporting Costs if the costs of coaching fees, equipment and uniforms might weigh on your family budget.
Recognise that not everyone is drawn to organised sports and try thinking outside the field and off the court to keep your children interested, whether that’s dancing, water polo or karate. This also gives your kids the opportunity to pick up new skills while being challenged.
Keep the focus on fun when it comes to helping your children practise skills that will improve their sporting abilities. Giving your children positive feedback, praise and encouragement for participation will make them feel accomplished, especially if they’re finding an activity difficult. Encourage acceptance of different body shapes and ability levels while acknowledging their effort, rather than the outcome to build their confidence.
Limit Screen Time
Kids often spend too much time behind television, computer, phone and electronic screens. It’s time to put down the remote and pick up a ball by introducing screen free days or setting time limits for screen use. Start by turning off the TV during mealtimes, making bedrooms screen-free zones and setting a good example by reducing your own media use.
If you use screen time to bond as a family, try changing the way your kids play by getting into exergaming. This is technology-driven physical activity where you’re required to exercise in order to play the game, think Wii Sports or the new Nintendo Switch Ring Fit. These are especially great for cold weekends in winter months.