Let’s face it: some children enjoy being active and exercising more than others.
Still, it is important for all children (and adults) to get daily exercise and activity.
Although we want to encourage less than two hours of screen time each day, we also want to encourage children to pursue things they are passionate about, such as reading, writing and drawing.
If we can include exercise among their hobbies and passions, we can encourage a healthy mood, mind and body.
Here are six activities your child may enjoy already, paired with alternative (preferably fun) activities. It involves being creative and working together as a family.
1. Playing video, phone or computer games
Alternative: Suggest your child play active video games. He/she can switch back and forth every 30 minutes, playing a sit-down game and then switching to a game that gets your child moving. You can also join in yourself.
2. Watching TV (no more than two hours each day)
Alternative: Encourage exercise during the commercial breaks. These quick exercises may include jumping jacks, running in place, jump rope or squats. Make it more family oriented by playing something like “hot potato” with the remote or a pillow. You could also put an exercise machine in front of the TV and be on the machine for as long as your show is on.
3. Sitting and drawing
Alternative: Take a walk with your child and, together, draw some of your favorite parts of the walk. Make a list of 20 different things you see, and draw them when you get home from your walk. Split it up by walking for 10 minutes and drawing for 20 minutes each hour.
4. Playing board games
Alternative: If you really want to get creative, you could have your child pick out their favorite board game, but try making your own cards that have an exercise on each one that has to be completed before the player can move on the board.
5. Reading books
Alternative: After each chapter is finished when reading, take a break and do an exercise for however long it took your child to finish that chapter. Some exercises could include going outside to run or swing on the play set. Or, simply go for a walk with your child, asking them to tell you about the last chapter and what they think might happen in the next chapter.
6. Listening to Music
Alternative: Any exercise may be done while listening to music. With your phone or iPod, you could take your dog for a walk, go for a run, play at the park, or dance around while listening to your favorite songs.