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Daily Physical Activity: the Foundation for a Healthy Lifestyle

Tips for Getting Your Family Active Guest post by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools: the leader in childcare services and education

Experts suggest that young children need to accumulate at least 60 minutes and up to several hours of physical activity every day. Unfortunately,many children are not nearly as active as they need to be.It is clear that along with poor diet, physical inactivity has contributed to a large increase in childhood obesity in the United States in the past 20 years.

Research has shown that children who develop basic motor skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, jumping, skipping, and balance are more likely to grow into healthy active adults.Studies have shown that daily physical activity helps children academically as well.Learning basic physical skills is essential to the healthy growth and development of your child.

But children do not necessarily learn physical skills on their own,they need guidance and assistance from adults, challenging activities, and opportunities to practice and refine physical skills.

So, what can parents do to teach their children about the importance of being physically active and help them learn these necessary skills?  Trying the tips below will help you and your family creates a fun environment for physical activity and will contribute to everyone’s physical health.

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Tips for Getting Your Family Active:

Find appropriate, safe spaces for quality physical activity:Provide safe spaces inside and outside for your child to be active.

Ensure the availability of age-appropriate supplies:Being physically active is like learning to read, write, or do math problems in that each requires proper materials or equipment.

Provide abundant supplies of balls, hoops, hockey sticks, bats, paddles, racquets, musical instruments, jump ropes, etc.They need balls of all sizes, shapes, and weights such as beanbags, sock balls, and rubber balls.

Equipment should be soft, lightweight, and made for children.

Be active with your children:Don’t just send your children outside to play--be a role model!  Go outside with them and participate in games and other activities that require physical exertion!

Use sidewalk chalk to create your own four-square or hopscotch grids; blow bubbles then chase them around the yard to see who can catch them;go on a walk around the neighborhood or through a park as a family; play music and dance inside or outside; and when the weather is nice put on your bathing suits and run through the sprinklers.

Promote a feeling of success when you play with your child.If your child is not yet able to successfully throw and hit a target, encourage them to move a little closer so they can be successful.  Skills are acquired incrementally.  Children who do not experience success have a tendency to quit and not practice.

Acknowledge their efforts with specific comments.No matter what your child’s skill level is, be a supportive coach.They will benefit from your encouragement.

Here are a few other fun outdoor games that are among kids favorites:

Big Foot Relay. Have the children bring two shoeboxes with them. Tape the lids onto the boxes, then cut a one-inch-wide and four-inch long slit in each top. Have the contestants slip their feet into the slits in the boxes and race.

Capture the Flag: This game is most fun when played with a large group.Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team’s base. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory.You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail.They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break.

Scavenger Hunt: Everyone knows this one, and the best part about it is it can be played with 2 or 20 people.Kids won't even know their exercising they'll be so focused on finding the hidden items.

When children come into the world, physical activity is at the very center of their lives.  They have a mission to learn to crawl, walk, run, throw, catch, and kick.If they are going to enjoy participating in physical activities now and as adults, they need to build on that foundation of success and enjoyment that begins in infancy.So, grab a ball, badminton racket, or jump rope and set aside time each day to play with your child!

Primrose Schools are offering educational childcare.At Primrose they truly believe that "With The Right Foundation, Anything Is Possible". Visit Primrose schools for more info

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