In this day and age it's harder than ever to get kids active. Many pastimes involve technology, so if your little darling is a Minecraft addict or Facebook fiend, it might be very difficult to get them off the computer or games console. Also kids who are more physically active are more likely to be academically motivated and alert in school according to the The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), a US organisation, so the mental benefits of physical activity are significant too.
For 5 to 18 year olds the recommended level of physical activity is at least one hour a day, but what do you do to encourage your children to get active if they prefer more sedentary activities?
Here are seven top tips on getting kids to be active and keeping them that way.
1. Don't take the car
Wherever possible encourage your kids to walk or cycle to school, the local shops or a friend's house. It's never to early to learn the rules of the road so if your child is little and you need to walk with them, help them learn the green cross code and how to be sensible crossing the road. If your child wants to cycle to school, enquire about cycling proficiency courses such as the one run by Bikeability Wales.
2. Exercise with them
Set aside time every week to do something active with your children. This is great for bonding and you could even teach them a new skill such as how to use a hula hoop, how to throw a frisbee, or how to skateboard.
3. Buy active toys for your kids
Bikes, skipping ropes, skateboards, footballs and all manner of toys encourage kids to be active. If you buy a new computer game for birthday or Christmas, then buy them something active to balance it out like a new football or scooter.
4. Encourage their interest
If they have an interest in a sport, encourage the enthusiasm by signing them up to a sports club. Many schools work in collaboration with companies as well to run school sport tours where football, rugby, skiing and netball tours can be enjoyed and skills honed.
5. Encourage a love of nature and walking
The UK has many beautiful national parks, beautiful waterfalls and lovely beaches. On holidays and weekends go out, take a picnic and explore the beautiful countryside and coastline around us.
6. Try something different
Now and again try something different. Trampolining and roller blading have become popular in recent years for example. Check out local listings for places that run courses and classes.
7. Consider a beach holiday
There are lots of fun activities kids can play on the beach such as beach volleyball. They can also learn new skills such as paddle boarding, surfing and even windsurfing.
So these are 7 tips to get your kids active, feel free to share your tips below.