With smart phones, TV, video games and social media everywhere we turn, inactivity among our children is rampant. Parents know the importance of teaching children the value of living a healthy and active lifestyle. However, inspiring action from their kids is not always an easy task.
“It’s not possible to dictate every activity kids participate in, but we can absolutely influence how children voluntarily choose to spend their time,” says Dr. Michael Popkin, spokesperson for the Real Parents Real Answers youth smoking prevention program. “Additionally, kids that value physical fitness are less likely to smoke, which is another bonus to encouraging them to get active.”
Popkin offers these five tips to keep kids healthy and fit without sacrificing FUN!
Keep them busy outdoors – In the summer, a sprinkler can provide hours of entertainment for young kids. If you enjoy gardening, involve your children and allow them to care for their own plants.
Go on family bike rides – Biking is a great bonding activity for the whole family, as well as great exercise! Have a destination in mind, such as a yogurt shop or the local park to make the experience that much more fun for the kids.
Have designated computer/TV time – By having a designated allowance for time spent on the computer or TV, you’re teaching your children to find other ways to have fun without depriving them of personal downtime.
Get involved! – Don’t tell your kids to go play outside and then plop yourself down on the couch to watch TV. Instead, go join them outside – read a book, water the plants or simply take a walk and enjoy the weather!
Encourage participation in sports – Kids of every age can enjoy sports, whether it’s going to soccer practice or shooting some hoops in the driveway. Participating in sports doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money—check out your local Y or start your own informal neighborhood team.
Popkin encourages parents to visit www.RealParentsRealAnswers.com for more parenting advice on topics such as communication, building self-esteem and courage, and managing stress in children, all of which will help parents keep their child tobacco free.
Dr. Michael Popin is the founder of Active Parenting Publishers and has won many awards for his video-based parenting education programs.