Remember your childhood summers of playing outside, before everyone was glued to their TVs, computers and smartphones? According to a recent survey, children today spend half the time their parents did playing outside. While modern technology has made life a lot easier, it has also made us less active. In fact, only one in three children are active every day. It is time to motivate and influence our kids to get involved in outdoor physical activities as much as we can.
If your kid has been neglecting their outdoor play equipment, encourage them to go outside and get involved in more outdoor activities. Make fitness a regular part of a child’s day by providing them with as many opportunities as possible to play, move and be physically active. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Not everything is a competition
When games have defined winners and defined losers, those who do not win may feel discouraged to continue to play outside. It’s important to teach your kids that not every game or sport is a competition. Instead, introduce your kids to some activities they truly love that can be just as fun when played alone. While a little competition can be healthy, not every activity needs to be competitive. Show your kid that they can have fun just by shooting hoops or riding their bike up and down the street.
- Think outside traditional sports games
If your child doesn’t enjoy common team sports, such as football or basketball, that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of other games to play to stay active. Introduce your kids to a wide variety of activities, such as dancing, rock climbing, swimming or kayaking. Be patient, and your kid will find something they like.
- Join in
Bring out the inner child in you by joining in on your kids’ outdoor activities. When was the last time you played tag or tried to see how high you could swing? Whether you just play with your child one-on-one or organize a game day for the whole family, you will create memories that both you and your child will remember forever.
- Avoid using physical activity as a punishment
Some kids are reluctant to engage in physical activity because they see it as a punishment. For example, your child’s coach may have punished him or her for bad behavior during practice with extra laps and push-ups. Or, some parents may punish their child by withholding physical activity from them. Try not to forbid them from going to practice or playing outside just because they did something wrong. Instead, use physical activity as a reward. Reward their good behavior with a present, such as a bike or a trampoline. Also, consider taking them to one of our showrooms for open play!
Combat the “lazy child syndrome” by trying these tips on encouraging your children to play outside! Got any others? We’d love to hear them! Comment on our Rainbow of the Heartland Facebook pages – Rainbow of the Heartland – IA and Rainbow of the Heartland – KS - to share your tips with us, and we will share them with our followers.