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How to Encourage Your Kids to Get Outside and Be Active

Parents, we all know the drill — you call your kids to the dinner table and they either bring their Nintendo DS along or they join the table 15 minutes late.  Their lukewarm mashed potatoes and your daily uninvited guests — Mario and Luigi — are starting to make you regret giving them those tech gifts & gadgets for Christmas.  As if getting your children to eat — and eat together as a family — weren’t difficult enough, parents now face the added challenge of getting them outdoors and active.  Though it may seem like a difficult and daunting task, ensuring physical activity becomes routine in your child’s life at an early age will provide them with lifelong benefits.

According to the Government of Canada, children and youth ages 5 to 17 should engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day.  Currently, only 9% of this demographic meets this standard, this is alarming!

Here are a couple of ways to help make the gap between your kids and the outside world a little smaller:

  • Register them for affordable after-school programs/extra-curricular activities.  This will give them the opportunity to learn new skills while having fun.  (It also gives you the chance to hide their game console while they’re not home).
  • Little things such as taking a quick stroll in the park, corner store or even the post office with your children not only gets your kids up and off the couch, but it also reinstates the importance of walking instead of being driven.  The key here is setting a positive example by being physically active as a family.
  • With summer just around the corner, plan a camping trip for the family.  Aim for camp sites with a lake nearby to go swimming, canoeing, kayaking or fishing. Even better — reserve a site that offers hiking trails as well.
  • Have a picnic at a family-friendly park, and start thinking about which yummy cold cuts to put on your grocery list.
  • When at a beach, lake or pool this season, be sure to bring along some toys that will encourage water play.  The Wateraft will be sure to keep your young ones entertained.
  • Offer them incentives for helping you with outdoor chores, such as washing the car, raking leaves or even shoveling snow from the driveway for the wintertime.
  • Kids tend to be fueled by praise so it’s important to remember to commend your children for being active.  This will train them to exhibit repeated behavior and have them make a habit out of physical activity.
  • Take advantage of seasonal activities.  During the summertime, go cycling or rollerblading.  In the wintertime, go skiing or outdoor skating.  Family bonding time will encompass a whole new meaning to it.

Whatever the activity be, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your kids have fun while doing it.

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