The busy holiday season can make it challenging for children to get regular physical activity. Studies have shown that frequent movement can help boost mood and improve concentration.
The winter months also make it difficult for kids to get moving because they aren’t outdoors as much. But, with a little creativity and proper planning your child can reap all of the benefits that exercise brings.
1. Take movement breaks
Have your child take movement breaks in between each of their 3 daily meals that way it’s easy for them to remember when they should be active.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and keep the ground rules simple. Let them know that it does not matter what they do, they just can’t be sitting down or standing still.
They can dance to one of their favorite songs or bundle up and run around outside as long as they are active for those 15 minutes.
2. Play a game
Allow for an equal balance of structured and free play.
You can utilize both indoor and outdoor spaces. Your child doesn’t need a whole lot of room to get their daily dose of movement.
Some indoor activities that don’t require much space are Simon Says, freeze dance, and parade marching.
Some classic outdoor games are tag, spud, capture the flag, and four corners.
Adjust the game to the developmental level of your child and make sure they know the rules so they can have fun playing.
3. Make it a habit
Set a specific time dedicated to playing a specific game, whether it be daily or twice a week, stick to the schedule.
Children thrive off routine and it will give them something to look forward to.
But be sure you remain flexible with your schedule to allow for any necessary tweaks.
Include make-up sessions in your routine so that your child never misses out.
4. Incorporate learning
Turn time spent outside into a live experiment.
Create a nature themed scavenger hunt and ask your child to collect certain rocks, flowers, or other items commonly found in the area where you live.
Take any indoor activity to a whole other level by incorporating the skeleton bone song and drawing your child’s attention to their own physiology.
Identify the interests that your child is already has and incorporate those interests into their daily exercise routine.
For example, if they have a favorite action figure you can motivate you child to get moving by discussing how physical activity is what makes their hero strong and agile.
5. Include kids in planning
Don’t force any particular activity on your child.
Ask your children what they are interested in and have them take a lead role in the planning process.
They should pick when and how they get moving. Once they make the plan, hold them accountable and remind them that it was their idea.
Let them make the call whether or not they play outdoors or inside.
They’re more likely to follow through with a plan that they helped to create.
Make them see the value in staying active, even in small ways.
Share your own favorite activities with them so they can witness firsthand the joy that movement brings.
Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkr is- https:// dearfitkris.com/