School is nearly out and the summer of fun begins. But how will your child spend their summer of ‘fun’? Will it be in front of a computer screen? Will it be outside with their mates? Will they be attending summer camps or going on an activity packed holiday?
Well, no matter what they are doing make sure they are moving. We assume that when we are at work, they are out playing or running around, not realising just how long they have been sat in front of a screen. It’s easily done.
On Saturday mornings I am up before my son doing work on the computer, and if I let myself, I would be stuck on it for a lot longer than I’d want.
At the same time, he is sitting playing his Xbox or watching YouTube and would happily do that all day if he could.
If there are no activities or sports that he attends on that morning, I will give him three options. Go for a run, bike or swim. He enjoys all three and will pick one that he fancies doing that morning.
Some mornings I will take him to the gym with me and he will happily go on the rowing machine, treadmill or sets up his own mini circuit from watching me.
No matter what, we will get some form of movement in on a Saturday and this will roll on to a Sunday as well.
The best part is that we both get to spend time together doing something we both enjoy.
The exciting thing about the summer, is there are so many more opportunities for us to enjoy outside activities together.
The reason I will continue to encourage and join in with my son is because I want him to live a happy healthy lifestyle.
I want him to find something he really enjoys doing, not something I have forced on him.
The only way he is going to discover this is by trying as many things as he wants.
Like most kids he still enjoys his Xbox, eating sweets and just doing nothing.
The problem is that children are far more easily entertained doing nothing these days.
They have more channels on the TV, better graphics on their computer games and more devices they can view these from.
As a result, kids and adults forget to move!
What can we do?
There are a few simple things we can do but the first is identifying if there is an issue.
Reflect or even record how much time your kids are moving especially outdoors, and please don’t assume.
The next step is to take action and this can come in a number of ways.
The first is to set time aside for you to become more active with your child.
There is no point asking them to do one thing while you do the opposite. They will see right through it. You don’t have to turn into the energiser bunny.
Even taking them to a park or walking to the shop together is movement, just don’t be buying a load of junk food when you get there.
Also, do something they love to do, even if you have little or no interest.
Forcing children to do the things you like will only end in disaster, for both of you.
Showing an interest in something they love doing will be invaluable to their development.
Adding to this make sure it is quality time. I have seen myself doing activities with Josh and trying to be on my phone at the same time.
Just put it down for 30 minutes and spend quality time helping your child fall in love with physical activity.
Give them the freedom to enjoy playing outside with friends. You may have to play a role in making this happen, by dropping them round to a friend’s house, inviting parents to drop their kids round to yours, taking the kids to a park or days away to let them explore and play.
Finally, you can send them on any number of summer camps throughout July and August, including the CORE Kids Summer Camps of course.
When they are at a camp you know they will be moving and meeting new friends.
If they are coming home buzzing, then you definitely know you have sent them to the right camp.
In order for our kids to become more active we will have to take a more active approach ourselves.
That can be from playing with them or creating an environment where you know they will be active and more importantly enjoying it.