Many parents nowadays face a problem that is entirely unique to this day and age. Never before have our younger generations been so plagued by obesity caused by a lack of activity. Kids grow up surrounded by the screens of different devices, playing games, watching movies and cartoons, and older kids are glued to YouTube and social networks. Physical activity and time spent outdoors are crucial for their development, health, and mental well-being. Studies conducted in recent years have even determined that there is a strong correlation between exercise and intellectual development. But the question remains: how can we encourage our kids to be more active? The answer is simple: fun. Here are some of our top suggestions.
Up the wow factor with skateboarding
If there’s one thing that will instantly up your kid’s cred by about a million points, it’s skateboarding. A skateboard is a statement, a fashion accessory, a means of transport, and an excellent reason to head outside – all rolled into one. Getting your kid a cool cruiser skateboard, for example, those trending in the United States, could be the perfect sneaky way to get them to be more active. Don’t forget the proper safety gear, though: falls sometimes happen, especially in the beginning, but with a helmet and proper pads, there’s nothing to worry about.
Hit the water
The American Heart Association’s recommendation is that children should get at least an hour of exercise a day. The activity should be moderate to vigorous. But what do you do if your kids don’t really enjoy running and other typical forms of cardio? Well, head to the beach or the pool, of course! Most kids love frolicking in the water, and swimming is certainly an essential life skill. Start with a swimming class at a young age, and make it a habit of taking your kids to the pool at least a couple of times a week, rain or shine.
Release pent up energy with martial arts
Martial arts is one of the best ways to keep your kids fit. First of all, there are so many different disciplines, every child should have no problem finding one that appeals to them. Also, not only does martial arts improve your child’s physical health and help them get or stay fit, it is one of the best confidence boosters for children who might otherwise be shy or insecure. By building up their physical strength and agility, and having them face challenges on a regular basis, these kinds of sports turn kids into confident, secure individuals. Plus, no one will dare bully your kid if they are a proficient fighter.
Turn games into reality with laser tag
Do your kids spend their days glued to the screen, playing computer games? If they think games are exciting, imagine what a rush they would get from the real thing. Laser tag, the game in which two teams strategize and fight using guns with infrared beams, is super fun – so fun, in fact, that your kids won’t even notice how much they are exerting themselves physically. It can be played both indoors and outdoors, and unlike the similar paintball, it is harmless, painless, and can be played regardless of the child’s age.
Get a Puppy
Even inherently grumpy kids are crazy about animals. The thing about dogs is that they can burrow their way into any heart. But they also need taking care of. If your kid has been asking for a pet for ages, make a deal: they can get a puppy, but it’s their responsibility. Choose a breed that requires plenty of exercise, and your kid can then take the new pet out every day, either on foot or on their bicycle.
You can talk about the benefits of exercise until the cows come home, but what really gets the little ones going is fun. The bottom line is, you have to offer them something they will enjoy more than sitting on the couch with a game console controller in hand.