How to Get Your Child Moving!
By Bill Parsons
Are you concerned about the amount of time your children are spending indoors on sedentary activities? If you were to name the last game he or she played, would it be electronic? Our children need to get outside and play for more reasons than just exercise, though that is a very important one.
Children also need to get outside of their heads and just be. They need to run and jump and climb and explore. (You and I both know they will do that in the den, but if they do it outside, youíll both be happier.)
- They need to get their daily allotment of sunshine to reset their bodyís inner clocks, which will help them
sleep better at night.
- They need to go fast and feel the breeze on their face.
- They need to go slow and see the clouds move across the sky.
- They should ride a bicycle or a skateboard or a foot peddled go-cart.
- They should sit still while they catch their breath from going fast.
Your children also need you to get out there and join them. Throw the ball around, take a walk, go for a family bike ride, set up one of those portable basketball hoops in the driveway or walk up to the local playground. Children learn by doing and watching what we do. If we sit on the couch and watch television after we send them outside, we are not sending a consistent message. Most childrenís faces absolutely light up when Mom or Dad join them outside in their games.
If you are not into playing games, then just step outside and sweep the sidewalk. Be out there with them for at least a little while. Maybe you could spend an hour a day all week pulling weeds out of your flowerbeds while the children play. They may join you for a bit while you work, but be prepared for them to wander off to play.
They need to explore their environments and spend some time close to nature. No, you donít have to go camping or fishing if that isnít your thing. Take a walk by the edge of the retention pond and look at the minnows. Talk in a hushed voice when the egret lands so you donít disturb his dinner.
Notice the baby frogs hopping away from the pond towards the edge of the wooded area. Pick one up gently for a minute, but insist that it must be let go to be happy. Notice the fantastic spider web with the magnificently humongous spider in it. Agree that spiders are not for petting. Listen to the chatter of your child as she notices the things around her.
All outdoor activities donít need to be exercise, but some of it should. Follow your childís interest. If your child is social and enjoys the rules and competition of sports games, then sign her up. If he would rather hang with a few friends and set his own pace, then that basketball hoop is a solid investment for one on one for years to come. Even a rousing game of freeze tag can be considered exercise if it lasts long enough.
Most importantly, send your child outside to play. Whatever game or activity works for you and your child, do it. Life isnít in that little electronic box, itís outside waiting for the both of you.