By: Sarah Llanos - FitCity Cross Fit
Gather a group of children together with no electronics and what will happen? Within a very short period of time, a game of tag or soccer or cartwheel “competitions” will ensue. Children love to play. When I was a child, one of my favorite aspects of summer was the hours upon hours of playing outside. Maybe it was an impromptu game of dodgeball or climbing around on a neighbor’s swing set or riding bikes to nowhere in particular but my brother and I couldn’t wait to get outside and play. All day long.
These days I am a busy mom rushing from one place to the next, particularly after school. I know I am not alone. However, parents, we must make fitness a priority for ourselves and our children. Research has shown physical activity promotes the following benefits:
· Strong muscles and bones
· Weight control
· Increase in academic motivation
· Decrease risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
· Quality sleep
· Builds confidence and self esteem
· Creates lifelong healthy habits
As parents, we crave these things for our children. We want them to be healthy and successful in school and life. How can we juggle the barrage of responsibilities we face daily while ensuring our children are getting at least thirty minutes of physical activity daily? Here are four simple ways to work around your busy schedule and keep your child active:
1. With your child’s guidance, write a list of activities/games/exercises he/she likes to do. Be prepared to make suggestions. Maybe even research some ideas together online.
2. Set aside at least 30 minutes of active play time each day. Does it work better for your schedule to do it before or after school? Pick a time and schedule it in your day like a meeting.
3. If you can’t find 30 consecutive minutes, split it up! 10 minute active homework break of running around outside or as many burpees as possible in 5 minutes, divides the thirty minutes into more manageable chunks of time.
4. If your child is off to an after school activity, to save time, your child can eat his/her after school snack in the car. Pack an extra snack in your child’s lunchbox OR bring a snack with you in the car for pick up. Be sure to grab an extra bottle of water as well.
As your school aged child gets older, it is likely their interests will change. Embrace this need for change. Remember, enjoying an activity will encourage its success. The simple recommendations above will continue to serve as a guide for children of all ages to keep fit and active.