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How to make your child active?

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From an early age it is important that your children are encouraged to play, exercise and explore. This builds confidence, social skills and physical development.

Regular exercise can prove to be vital in later life, promoting:

    • strong muscles and bones;
    • healthy weight;
    • decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes;
    • better sleep;
    • a better outlook on life.

It’s proven that active kids are also more likely to be motivated, focused, and successful in school.

Motivate kids to play

The main advice is to keep it fun and light hearted – no child wants to participate in physical exercise if it isn’t fun. Support your child and try to choose things he/she would enjoy rather than just endure. Make it a fun game.

Choosing age-appropriate activities

Try incorporating physical activity into a daily routine. Toddlers and preschoolers should play actively several times a day. Children aged 6 to 17 years should be doing 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Age-based advice

Younger children need games and exercises that helps them develop motor skills – kicking or throwing a ball, riding a bike with training wheels, or running obstacle courses can all be good.

Some sports may be open to kids as young as 4, although organized team sports are not recommended until children are slightly older. Sometimes kids can’t understand rules and can lack the attention span, skills, and coordination needed to play, but they should still be encouraged to do some form of activity. Remember not to take it too seriously; the fact that they are running around being active is what matters.

School age children can often spend too much time in front of a TV or on electronic devices, so the challenge for parents is to find something they would rather do.

Talking and understanding what they may be interested in is key to identifying the right kind of sport to suggest.

Teenagers have a huge range of choices when it comes to being active: football, running, cycling, baseball, skateboarding, hockey – all of which are great ways of staying active and are normally available to participate in at school or on weekends.

Understanding your child’s attitude to sport

  • Non athlete

General lack of athletic ability, interest in physical activity.

  • Casual athlete

Generally interested in being active but is at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment.

  • Athlete

High athletic ability, committed to a sport or activity and likely to excel with the right support.

Regardless of which category your child falls into, be positive and support any form of exercise that your child shows an interest in – it all helps promote a healthy lifestyle.