Getting kids to shut down electronic devices and get some exercise is a common challenge for today’s parents. Research is constantly demonstrating that today’s children spend too much time in front of screens. As we know from our own experience, we’re far more likely to do something if we enjoy it. So the trick is to find fun and engaging activities your kids will love.
Many activities kids can do alone or with friends. However, add some family activities too. Find things that everyone will enjoy and factor them in. Set a day aside each week or every couple of weeks. Take it in turns to pick an activity so everyone is included.
- Fun Classes
Enroll your kids in a fun class. For example, learning gymnastics for children provides hours of entertainment. It also develops a range of skills. Tailor the class to your child’s interests. It could be dancing, swimming, or another sport. Find something they will enjoy and will look forward to each week. They will also make new friends.
Cycling is an activity enjoyed by many kids. As well as providing a good workout, it is a useful skill to have. It will provide independence in later years. Get young children started as early as possible by introducing them to balance bikes. They can still be involved in family cycling events as you can fit a child seat on your bike or attach a trailer.
Make sure that bikes are well-maintained and up to standard. Ensure that everyone has safety equipment such as helmets and reflective clothing etc. Don’t forget sunblock.
When cycling with younger children choose safe cycle paths that are family friendly. Plan in some regular breaks.
If you tell your child you’re all going for a walk, they’re likely to respond by telling you it’s boring. But if you tell them you’re going to the seaside or the forest, then the response might be different. It’s easy to plan interesting walks by checking routes online. Find some places of interest and combine this with walking. Walking along a beach and paddling in the sea is fun for anyone at any age. Make nature walks into a competition of who can collect the most conkers, acorns, etc.
Swimming will provide you with a full-body workout. Though it’s low-impact, it will get the heart pumping. At the same time, it will improve strength and muscle tone. Arrange for your child to learn to swim at an early age. This will get them used to the water and build their confidence. They can then go onto to complete distances and enjoy other water sports.
- Go to the Playground
This is an activity for younger children. If you have a playground nearby, make the most of it. It’s a great way for your children to run around in the fresh air and make friends. There will be lots of activities to entertain them such as swings, slides and tunnels. You may also want to introduce kids to some of the games you played as a child.
- Unplanned Time
Factor in some unplanned time. Allow your kids to choose their own activities and entertain themselves. However, the proviso is that they are not allowed to turn on computers and screens. This will teach them independence and to keep themselves entertained. It will also allow them to experiment and work out what they enjoy doing.
Screen-time is fine, but it should be limited. Encourage your children to enjoy a range of activities. Make them fun and interesting and they will return to them again and again.