During the lockdown, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep children entertained and active with new engaging ideas and games. I know many of my clients have struggled with this and it’s been too easy to give in and let your kids play on the computer rather than push them to go for a walk.
This week, we have some tips and advice on keeping children and yourself active over the coming weeks.
First of all, it’s important to understand that not all children are into sports, but it's incredibly important that all children do some form of exercise for their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
1 - Think outside the box
If your child isn’t into sports at school such as football, netball or hockey, maybe they haven’t found the right one for them. So explore some exercise that they don't normally have access to - Martial arts, hiking, dancing, or cycling - there are loads of exercise videos and classes for all ages and abilities online, so have a look around.
Invest some time finding something that your child enjoys and can keep on enjoying after lockdown is over.
2 - Find something you can do together
Children love it when you take part and play with them so try and find something you can both enjoy, an exercise video, bike ride, or run through your local open space. By finding something you are also engaged in you are more likely to keep the child’s attention and interest, plus it can help keep you fit as well.
There are many online guides that can help with getting started with running, such as the couch to 5K and a huge range of free workouts available online.
3 - Feed their bodies and minds
Nutrition plays a huge role in the energy that children have to exercise. While they are home all day while in lockdown, it’s the perfect time to educate them on how to eat well and to cook. Getting connected with food, where it comes from and how to cook it is an important part of a child’s education and can shape how they relate to food for life.
It’s incredibly important that children get the right nutrients and energy requirements for their size. So it’s important that you encourage a healthy and varied diet to make sure they have the nutrients they need to develop correctly. Getting this right will also mean they have plenty of energy to exercise.
4 - Limit screen time
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of getting your children active is limiting screen time. It’s an easy option to sometimes let your child watch the iPad or play on a games console rather than find something to entertain them, plus you may wonder if it is worth the arguments? But for children spending more than 2hrs a day in front of a screen can have detrimental effects on their health and energy. The blue light of a screen can affect the body circadian rhythm. This is your body's internal clock that controls our sleep/wake cycle. Too much exposure to this blue light at the wrong time of day could affect the cycle and have damaging effects on health including sleep and ultimately rest and recovery. So a child who spends a lot of time on the screen could be more lethargic and lacking in energy which may mean they don't want to do any exercise.
5 - Be a role model
If you sit watching tv every evening, eating a bag of crisps, and doing the opposite of what you have been trying to tell your children to do all day, you are not inspiring them to continue with the exercise and healthy eating values you are trying to instil in them.
You need to practice as much of what you preach as possible to inspire your children and be a role model for them. If you do exercise when they are not around, make sure you talk about it near them. Tell them about the run you went for or the healthy food you have eaten.
6 - Exercise is not a punishment
Try to avoid using exercise as a punishment. Your old school PE teacher who punished you with extra press-ups or laps of the field if you were naughty only did one thing… put you off exercise. If you pull your child away from their computer game to make them exercise it will feel like a punishment also, so try to avoid doing it like this with your children.
Instead try to do it as a reward, eg “After you do 60min of study we can play 20mins of football as your reward.”
Founder of TONIQ
Please comment below if you found this article helpful. Tell us how you are getting your children active during the lockdown. Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.