Today’s students arguably have more on their plates than any generation that came before them. But even with their hectic schedules, kids still have free time, which many are not always using in the healthiest ways possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third high school students play video games or computer games for three or more hours on an average school day. Sedentary lifestyles can increase kids’ risk for being overweight or obese, and many parents struggle in their efforts to encourage their school-aged children to get off the couch and embrace physical activities. The following are a handful of strategies concerned parents can employ as they attempt to motivate youngsters to be more physically active.
Choose the right activity
Physical activity and organized sports are not one and the same. Kids can still be physically active even if they are not athletic or if they are simply not interested in sports. Find an activity kids can embrace, such as hiking, swimming or even riding bikes, and they will be more likely to get off the couch.
Limit screen time
Kids spend lots of time in front of computer and television screens, which can be detrimental to their overall health. Parents can place restrictions on the amount of time kids are allowed to spend surfing the Internet, playing video games and watching television, encouraging youngsters to spend time enjoying the great outdoors or playing with friends rather than spending it staring at a screen.
Parents can set positive examples by being physically active and even exercising with their children. Rather than retiring to the couch after dinner, take nightly walks or bike rides as a family. This is a great way to get kids off the couch, but also a great way to spend more time together as a family.
Involve kids in your own pursuits. Parents who are weekend warrior athletes can involve their kids in their own activities. Take kids along on weekend jogs, kayaking trips and so on, all the while explaining the important role physical activity plays in living a healthy lifestyle.