Ever since the invention of the television, parents have been having trouble keeping their kids active. It seems all they want to do is stare at a screen. When video games were invented, this problem was made worse. Not only could kids never miss their favorite shows, but now they had to make it further in the game than their friends.
How then do we get them to go play?
While we can often get frustrated with our kids’ tendencies to sit around and do nothing, we need to do our best to not make physical activities a punishment. We cannot expect them to go outside when told without complaining if we yell them to go outside. We also need to make sure we are setting a good example and going outside regularly too ourselves. No, you don’t need to go climb trees or anything extreme but take your work outside while regularly. You would be surprised how often they will follow you out there.
Help me with some specifics
One possible way to get your kids active is to create a game with a fitness dice. I have purchased two large cardstock dice from the Dollar Tree and written numbers on one dice and physical exercises such as jumping jacks, sprints, sit-ups and tuck jumps on them. I then covered them in packing tape to keep them in good condition and had the kids roll the dice to see how many of what activity they need to do. Five minutes of this will have your kid wore out. Another game that can be played is “how fast.” This game my dad played with me while on road trips or while we were on a walk. Basically, you call out an item you can see and the kid sees how fast they can run to it and back. It can be a tree, stop sign, flowers or even some of their toys.
Games are fun but what else?
Another option is to start having your kid work on his or her mile run every other day. A good place to start is to have your kid was a distance to warm up and then run a quarter-mile in intervals. It should be enough to get your kid’s heart pumping and breathing harder but not so much they want to throw up. Have them do the same intervals for a week or two and then challenge them to bump it up.
If you are able to, get them involved in a sport. Whether you sign your kid up for a neighborhood team or do something through the YMCA, a sport is a great way to get your kids active and they can learn things like teamwork, persistence, and dedication. We have had all three of our kids signed up for gymnastics and they loved it. It got them active, learning to control their bodies better and helped them become more confident in themselves. This year my daughter wants to sign up for soccer, my older boy wants to sword fight and my youngest wants to try everything. Sports can be an expensive way to go but take heart, there are inexpensive options out there. You just have to look.
What about a playground or nature trail
Playgrounds and nature trails are always a wonderful option. Even better if they are close to you. Often times, the difficulty is that people need to travel 30 minutes to an hour to get to a nature trail and this discourages them. Playgrounds can be closer but sometimes kids can get burned out going to the same one over and over again. I had four playgrounds within 15 minutes of our last house and I would rotate those during the month and hit one trail as well. It, of course, all depends on your time table and what you have near you as to what you can do with your kids, but playgrounds and nature trails are perfect inexpensive and fun ways to get our kids out and active.
Keeping our kids active and entertained can be a struggle at times but there are options. Some of the above-mentioned options may be a perfect fit for your family while others are just not possible and that is ok. We don’t need to do it all. Our kids do not need to do it all. We just want them healthy and happy. Start with one option, give it a try for a while and see how things go. Find what works best for your family and stick to a rhythm. The television and the games will always be a temptation, but we can at least teach them the fun of being outside as well.
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.