These days it’s common to see kids glued to a screen instead of running around outside. Videos and games have replaced outdoor exploration and simple social games. Kids are showing higher rates of obesity and other health issues. Also, being active isn’t just physically healthy, it’s also mentally healthy as well. Here’s a few things you can try if your child seems to be sitting around all day.
- Exercise Together – Just like any other behavior, kids are more prone to do as you do and not as you say. You can tell them to exercise or run around outside all you want, but if you’re glued to a computer or tv all day, they’re most likely not going to take you very seriously. Make exercising or even playing outside together a priority and do fun activities on a schedule so that it’s something you can all look forward to.
- Give them Freedom – Children from a young age are constantly being told what to do. Sometimes just letting your kids choose the activity they like can make all the difference. If they’re not big soccer players, let them try basketball. Give them the freedom of choice to try something new.
- Don’t Push Them – Any type of activeness is good. Whether your child is a star athlete or content with just being part of a team, don’t make them feel negative about their athletic ability. Kids who just enjoy sports for fun can easily get discouraged if they feel the pressure is too high. Gauge what type of pressure your child can handle, and match them with the best sports for their personality.
- Limit Electronic Usage – This isn’t easy to do, but you can bargain by saying any extra hour of exercise means more time allowed on electronics. You’ll probably notice that even though you bargain, they’re less likely to spend more time using electronics once they become more active.
- Recruit a Friend – If you can, try to join forces with another parent (who’s child may already be friends with your child) and get them to join an activity together. They will be more likely to stick with it or be interested if a buddy is involved.
Also, don’t forget to keep it fun! Being active can be much more fun than any sort of screen time. If you can just get your child to feel the same way, it won’t take much work to get them to be active. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been educating and treating patients for over eighteen years. You can call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.