Bringing sports home – encouraging your child to be more active

With all the hi-tech gadgets around these days, it’s easy for kids as well as adults to spend their leisure time looking at screens, not just television screens but also devices for accessing the internet, with gaming and social media options fighting for pole position. While interactive software that promotes exercise is useful for when the weather outdoors is harsh, it’s really no substitute for the real thing – sports activities that give kids a healthy dose of fresh air and keep them fit. There are a number of ways to enthuse children about sports, and the first is to find something that suits their personality.

Horses for courses

Well known to British people, ‘horses for courses’ is a proverb that simply means different people are suited to different things or situations, so, one child may love to swim while a sibling can’t bear to be in the water and would rather play ball. The key thing is to work towards finding a sport that suits the child, and this means letting them try out different activities until they find something they like.

Make it fun

There are lots of pursuits that provide exercise and that can be done without the need for a formal sports club or a gymnasium. For example, a local park or open green space that permits cycling is ideal for bike rides – remember to make sure a child is properly equipped with comfortable clothing and appropriate safety gear, including a cycling helmet. In the same way, skating, roller blading and skateboarding are fun activities and a good form of exercise. These are good ideas for participatory family outings and parents who cycle or skate alongside their children are great role models.

Begin at home

Healthy physical activity can begin at home. Just as playground equipment is designed to engage children in a number of different challenges, providing a range of experiences including strength training on the jungle gym or balance practice on swings and seesaws, so it is possible to emulate some of these at home or in the yard. A simple basketball hoop fixed to an appropriate wall (and not near a window) makes it easy for kids to practice shooting baskets. Where more space is available, parents could consider something a little more adventurous, such as choosing one of the outdoor courts at Multi-game courts are a good investment and offer a wide range of options including, for example, tennis, basketball and shuffleboard.

Branch out

If the backyard is home to a tree or two then the kids can enjoy supervised climbing sessions – putting a tree house in a safe position might encourage them to make it a regular habit. Also, make sure children are involved in taking the dog to the park for a good run and a few games on a regular basis. Being active doesn’t have to be a chore – build it into family life and leave your kids the best legacy they could ever have, the habit of being actively healthy.

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