A huge part of being a parent includes being a teacher. Children learn from their parents from day one, watching everything you say and do. Therefore, being a positive role model and leading by example are always important. When it comes to physical activity, research has shown that active parents have active children and physical activity plays a huge role in a child’s healthy growth and development.
Here are some tips…
- Educate your children on the importance of adequate physical activity. Encourage your children to ride their bikes to school or walk if there are safe routes.
- Provide your child with regular opportunities to learn lifetime skills such as swimming, soccer, baseball, martial arts, dance, gymnastics, skiing, basketball, skating etc.
- Balance your children’s day with physical activities that are informal and unstructured, particularly for children who shy away from competition.
- Offer a wide choice of activities beyond organized sports, for example, washing the car, walking the dog, planting a garden, playing tag, building a snowman, tobogganing, mopping the floors, vacuuming the carpet, shovelling the driveway, or sweeping the garage.
- Be a positive role model for your children. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a brisk walk. Try a new activity. Leave the car at home for short trips.
- Be physically active with your children. Plan family activities like hiking, cycling, walking, in-line or ice-skating.
- Focus your children’s attention on the game rather than the outcome. “That was a great play you made in the first period!”
- Try to minimize the pressure you might be putting on your children’s performance. Provide honest feedback to your children about how well they are doing rather than focusing on winning. Compliment them on their efforts by promoting good self-esteem.”You must feel proud of yourself!”
- Limit the time your children sit in front of the television, playing video games, or surfing the Internet.
- Tell your children’s caregivers that you expect physical activity to be an important part of their daily routine.