Time constraints, interruptions, lack of motivation – it’s all too easy to come up with an excuse for why exercise is off the agenda, especially for busy parents. But when you stop thinking of treadmills, rowing machines and gym memberships as your exercise essentials and move your mind-set to footy in the park, going for a bike ride or taking in a bushwalk with the kids, then you start to enjoy the chance to get your heart pumping and your lungs working.
Both kids and adults should be active each and every day. To help get your family motivated, we have brought together some ideas to encourage the whole family to get up and move.
Turn off the screen
This an obvious one but probably the hardest habit to break – for kids and adults. Health organisations recommend that children should reduce sedentary activities like watching TV, playing on games consoles or using the computer to a total of less than two hours per day. Rather than trying to get the kids to turn the TV off, you may have more success by having them not switch it on in the first place! If the kids have a tendency to flick on the TV as soon as they walk in from school, change the routine and break the habit. Stop at the park on the way home from school, go for a bike ride or head to the local pool or beach for some active fun and you’ll find that TV and video games don’t even get missed.
As much as we always pretended that our parents were ‘lame as’ when around our friends, we will freely admit now that it was the time spent playing with our parents that are some of the best memories from our childhood. Kids love having their parents join in with their play. Go throw a frisbee, go on a bike ride with them or play some backyard cricket. It’s not only great for them – it’s good for you too!
Think outside the box
When was the last time you played a party game when there’s no party? Musical chairs, treasure hunts and silly balloon games are just as much fun with only a few kids (and even more fun with parents thrown in too!). Set up an obstacle course in your back yard, have a trampoline challenge or train the dog – think of new ways to enjoy being active with your kids.
You don’t need expensive sports equipment to have fun. Kids are notorious for getting more fun out of the box than the toy that came in it! With just the basics like a ball, skipping rope, pavement chalk and a bit of imagination the kids will come up with a hundred different ways to play.
Keep it fun
Nobody’s perfect! So they don’t kick the ball straight or haven’t managed to get the basketball in the net after 48 attempts – so what! Offer your child assistance to help them learn but don’t nag them into getting everything perfect or they won’t want to play any more. Also, there’s nothing funnier than mum or dad failing at something the kids are great at, so have a go too!
The gift of play
Got a birthday coming up? Buy gifts that encourage activity, like rollerskates, a bike, a hula hoop, flippers, riding lessons, sports tuition, or an activity voucher.
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