Beyond learning the concept of teamwork and forming close friendships, participating in sports can ensure that your child develops strong muscles and bones, has a lean body, decreases their chance of developing type 2 diabetes, builds self-confidence and is more focused at school.
But, the simple fact is, not every child likes or embraces sports participation. It’s just not “their thing,” and no amount of coercion is going to make them like it. Forty years ago this might not have been an issue because kids used to spend hours outdoors running, playing and riding bikes instead what they do today — spending an average of 6 or more hours a day in front of electronic devices and “playing” with friends over Wi-Fi. Now, add to that the fact that our busy lifestyles have led us to eating more processed, high carb, high calorie foods and dining out an average of 18 times per month. Suddenly your child is potentially on track to suffer weight and health issues.
So, what’s a parent to do?
- First, it’s important to set an example for your child by regularly exercising yourself. If you aren’t already to doing, get going for your own sake, and the tell your child why you’re doing it.
- Take stock of what food is in your house and make a concerted effort to cut back on processed foods and dining out (especially fast food). Absolutely eliminate sugary drinks, including sports drinks.
- Take the time to ask your child about the activities (that involve movement) they like to do and go from there. Let’s face it, kids playing video games develop some really keen accuracy skills so why not take that to the outdoors and sign them up for an archery class? Plan family outings that involve walking like museum visits, local hikes or ropes courses.
- Set up a basketball hoop or badminton net in your back yard and set aside time everyday to use it with your child.
- Sign them up for a non-competitive exercise program that is focused on improving their overall strength and fitness as well as teaching them the benefits (and fun) of regular exercise. Plus, kids will forge new friendships and gain confidence as they make their bodies stronger!
Your goal should be for them to be active 60 minutes each day.Learn More About Youth Fitness Classes