Physical activity is important for kids of all ages, especially for those who are still growing. It helps kids to grow taller and stronger and also helps in brain development among children.
The benefits of physical activity are not just physical either. Kids who stay active are less likely to become obese or develop type 2 diabetes later in life. They also have better mental health, which means they are less likely to get depressed or suffer from anxiety, which improves their mood and concentration. All these benefits make it important to encourage your child to be physically active every day.
However, the recommended physical activity varies per age group. Check the recommended activities per age group below:
Kids 3-5 years old
These are the kids who start to get more aware of what is happening and learn to follow directions. They start to understand cause and effect and can finally sit still for a few minutes at a time. So, you can introduce new activities requiring them to follow the rules and complete tasks such as cleaning up after themselves or putting away toys in their rooms.
Kids 6-12 years old
At this age, kids start to show signs of independence and self-reliance, which means they need more freedom in the activity area. They also show interest in things like sports or arts and crafts.
How can you encourage your child to do more physical activity every day?
Go on family walks
Whether you’re walking around your neighborhood or on the track at your local park, walking is a great way to improve your child’s health. It may not be as exciting as other activities, but walking is a low-impact activity that can be done by just about everyone; including young children.
When you walk with your kids, you can take time to talk with them and discover more about their interests. You can also talk with them about the importance of being active and healthy. And you can help them begin to understand how their bodies respond to being active. Walking is something most families can do together, regardless of your child’s age or ability.
Get the whole family involved
Show your kids that being active is important to you by making it a family affair.
As you get your kids moving more, try to make exercise a family daily activity whenever you can. For example, rather than having the TV on while your kids are bored, play games that get them moving, like basketball, dancing, or just simply any habulan-taya game.
You can also share and teach them games that you played when you were a child. Playing with your child is a great way to get them moving. There are plenty of active games you can play with your child, like running bases, playing tag, jumping jacks, and even sports.
Let them play with other kids in the neighborhood
Playing with your neighbors’ kids will expose your child to other children and will help them to learn new things while having fun. Meeting up with friends outside will build social connections for children. It not just promotes active playing but also curiosity and critical thinking.
Involve them in household chores
I remember my kids asking to accompany me whenever I go out to the grocery or the market for our supplies. I thought that they just wanted to get something, so I just asked them what they like to buy. They simply nodded and told me, they don’t need anything, it’s re-arranging the refrigerator they always look forward to. They get excited to re-stock and fill the empty drawers of our ref.
Those instances taught me that kids view household chores as enjoyable simply because they want to play the part of their parents. Fixing their bed, loading their dirty clothes to the washing machine, and rearranging their cabinets will not just keep them moving but also teach them to be responsible in your home.
Limit the screen time of your kids to make extra time for physical activity. Too much usage of phones can make our kids lethargic and addicted to gadgets. Explain to them why less screen time can be healthier, mentally and physically.
Being active doesn’t need to be expensive. If you live close enough, try walking or biking to the school, supermarket, church, or park. Your kids might enjoy gardening too; digging and weeding are fun activities for children and a great way to get your Vitamin D.
And lastly, be a good role model. Kids are always watching and observing. If they see that you’re leading an active lifestyle, they’ll more likely to want to do the same, it will instill in them good habits that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
So, get out there and start being active yourself!
- How can I help my child be more physically active? www.heart.org. (2022, July 19). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs…
- Meurer, C. (2013, July 31). Gym & recess: How to encourage more school physical activity. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/more-physical-activity-school
- Myers, P. (2019, July 23). 5 ways to help your child be more physically active. Child Development Institute. Retrieved from https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-activities/5-ways-to-help-your-c…