Family Health & Fitness Day will be held on June 8, 2019, celebrating this special day promotes the importance of parks and recreation in keeping communities healthy. The Ear, Nose and Throat Institute is encouraging you to participate by inviting your family to get active at your local park or recreation center, or by hosting a health fair or family fun run. As members of the healthcare community, we want to support and celebrate being healthy with your family!
We know it is far to easy to sit in front of your couch and binge a new season on Netflix, but remember what kind of example you are setting in your house. What does downtime look like to your kids, is it playing on a phone or laptop or is it playing tag in the backyard, swimming at the local community pool or having a picnic with their family in the park? As adults, we set the example and the expectations, so here are some tips for getting into family-friendly and healthy activities that can help get your kids to engage!
- Stop exercising – As adults, we talk about getting exercise and working out. But kids don’t want to “work out” … they want to play! So swap words like “exercise” for “playtime” and “be active,” then make sure fun activities follow.
- Encourage them – Explain to your kids that moving more helps them in so many ways … getting better grades, improving sports performance and just feeling better and happier. Encourage activities that are both fun and physical, like hopscotch, jumping rope, tag or hide and seek.
- Show them how it’s done – Kids are great imitators, and they’re more likely to be active when their parents are. So step it up and be a great role model!
- Break it up – Sometimes getting active for an hour a day can sound like a lot for kids. Make it easier by breaking up the 60 minutes into smaller bursts of play throughout the day. How about a 20-minute family walk … or 20 minutes shooting hoops outside … or 15 minutes playing tag? Just because you don’t have a whole 60 minutes to spend doesn’t mean you can’t do something. Being a little active is always better than sitting around.
- Have fun – Finding an activity your child enjoys is important because kids will spend time doing what they like. So ask your child what he enjoys and help him make it happen. From the ballpark to the playground to the backyard to the indoor obstacle course, there’s something fun for everyone!
- One step at a time – You don’t have to go full throttle on the activity level right away. It’s fine to start building movement into your day slowly and increasing the amount and intensity over time. Keep it fun!
- Keep trying – Expanding your activity routine is a lot like trying new foods. Sometimes kids need to be exposed to the same activity multiple times before they start to enjoy it. With anything that involves a new skill, there’s a learning curve involved. But once they get past it, they often gain confidence and actually enjoy it.
Our hope is that our families live healthy lives and experience the joy of being physically active outdoors. If you’re not already exposing your kids to nature, put these practical ideas to use right away. Experiencing nature helps us live well and every bit of exposure helps. It’s time to get outside and enjoy what the world has to offer us!