Keeping Family Active in the Fall
Article Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools by Kathleen Thomas
As parents, we tend to focus on our child’s academic progress and forget about
the importance of physical exercise. In our fast paced society, nutrition is often
overlooked as well. This combination is leading to some staggering statistics
about our youth. Inactivity in childhood is also leading to very unhealthy adults.
The following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are
- “Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.”
- “Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19years are obese.”
Studies show that there is a connection between academic growth and basic motor
skills. Children who do not spend time crawling, running, jumping, throwing,catching, and kicking are at a disadvantage by the time they start preschool.These skills not only help academically, but can lead children to a healthier life as an adult. By teaching children how to be active, they benefit academically and physically.
Not all children can learn basic motor skills without the assistance of an adult. It is important for adults to take time and encourage the activities through interaction.
This allows children to improve upon their abilities. Children are spending less time being active, but with some adult intervention, this can change for the better.
No parent wants their child to become a couch potato, so what can be done to change this behavior? Parents must establish an active family environment that gets everyone up and moving. It is important to make the activities fun for the whole family.
Tips for Creating a More Active Family Environment
Arrange for appropriate space to get active. Have room inside the home and outside where children can play without getting hurt.
Make available the proper equipment for the child’s age. It is difficult to participate in activities without the proper gear.
- Proper gear includes balls, jump ropes, bats, racquets, nets, hoops, gloves,etc.
- The balls should be different types, sizes, and weights. Utilize typical sports balls, as well as rubber balls, bean bags, and foam balls.
- Ensure that the equipment is meant to be used by children. It should be the appropriate size, soft, and not too heavy.
Children learn best by example, so set the standard by being an active parent. They are more likely to participate if their parent is involved in the activity. Get outside and be a participant too!
- Rake up a pile of leaves together and then jump into the pile; take advantage of the fall weather and go for a family walk; ride bikes on a nature trail; play indoor soccer using chairs and a blanket; play on the playground equipment as a family; dance around the house while listening to music; draw a hopscotch course with sidewalk chalk; play a family game of football; and have a treasure hunt for small pumpkins that are hidden in the backyard.
- Don’t focus on perfection while playing games, instead encourage improvement. Make the difficulty level a little easier instead of allowing children to give up. It is important that they feel a sense of accomplishment so they want to continue to play.
- Support their participation by complementing their effort as well as their accomplishments. Their skill level will improve with practice, so keep them playing by focusing on the positive aspects.
When children are infants, activity is a central part of their daily lives. They want
to be a part of the action and can’t wait to run with the big kids. Take advantage
of this enthusiasm and continue to encourage their physical activity as they grow.
Give your children the gift of an active childhood that leads to a healthier adult
lifestyle. Don’t wait until tomorrow, pick up that ball and play with your child today!
Chime in! What is your favorite fall activity to do with your child? You know I’d love to hear from you!