Now that the school year is in full swing it is easy to get consumed with homework, extra-curricular activities, chores and life in general. It is important, even during the busy school year, to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to help instill good habits in your children while they are young.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services the percentage of children ages 6-11 who are considered obese has risen 12% since the 1960’s. Children who are obese are at risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and are more likely to be obese as adults. Creating healthy habits when your children are young can provide them with a lifetime of benefits.
So how do you work physical activity into a busy child’s schedule? Obviously it is important to make academics a priority, but second to academics should be incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. Instead of turning on the television or game system when the kids come home from school try these alternatives instead.
Bike to School
Many families live within walking distance of their elementary school, yet chose to drive out of convenience. Ride a bike or walk with your child to school instead of driving.
Make Nutritious Snacks
When serving after school snacks consider serving nutritious alternatives like cut veggies with ranch or fruit with yogurt. Have your kids make their own trail mix and use wholesome ingredients such as nuts, raisins, and dried fruit.
Kids can get stressed out after a long day of school and homework, but instead of letting them veg in front of the television, send them outside to play. Whether it is drawing with sidewalk chalk in the driveway, jumping on a trampoline, riding bikes, roller blading, throwing the football or Frisbee, encourage them to play outside to burn off energy and unwind. Kids spend six to eight hours in a classroom every day. They don’t need to spend another two to three hours sitting in front of the television when they get home.
Choose Active Extra-Curriculars
There are so many wonderful activities available for kids these days. From Scouts to the chess club, there is something for everyone. When choosing activities for your children try to incorporate at least one that involves physical activity. If you don’t have the time to commit to team sports, consider karate, dance or a local running club.
Move as a Family
The best way to get a young child excited about something is to start doing it yourself. Young children love to imitate their parents, so set a good example by making smart food choices and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.
Families can ride bikes together, run together, walk together, throw the ball together, and so much more. Incorporating physical fitness into your lifestyle is the best way to encourage your children to get active.
Making physical activity a priority for kids throughout the school year creates healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Together Counts makes it easy to find activities near you with this useful local resource locator!
Toni is the founder of TheHappyHousewife.com a website dedicated to helping others live well on less. When she isn’t helping others become better family managers, she loves spending time with her family, homeschooling her kids, and exercising.
Need more fit fall ideas? Check out Together Counts’ resources: