With the rise of the internet and a world packed full of technology, our generation are some of the first to face the challenges of how to raise smart, healthy kids in these times. Whilst there’s now a wealth of ways to entertain and educate your child online, the challenge is balancing that with keeping your child healthy and active – after all, my son would happily sit and watch endless YouTube videos (usually the totally un-educational ones where they build train tracks!) unless I cajole him into going outside for a walk. But how do you encourage your children to keep healthy and active? We explore some of the ways to make it a little easier…
Invest In A Smart Watch
Let’s face it, we’ve all heard of the Apple Watch or a Fitbit but are they just for adults or can kids see the benefits too? You’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of smart watches out there that are child-centric and plenty of guidance around finding the best smart watches for girls or boys, whatever their age. Not only will they look the part and have access to all of the other great features such as listening to music or keeping in touch with friends, they’ll be able to track their activity each day, monitor their heart rate and try to achieve daily activity and step goals.
Find A Sport That Doesn’t Feel Like A Sport
When I was at school, the options for sporting activities were fairly limited; athletics, netball, hockey or women’s rugby. None of those were things that I enjoyed and I began to associate exercising with being bored (and usually cold!) but now things are different. Try to find a sport or a club that doesn’t feel like a sport for your child – whether that’s climbing, trampolining, martial arts, skateboarding, surfing, cheerleading, street dancing… the list is endless! Many clubs do taster sessions so that your child can gauge if it’s right for them before you commit so get the details of a few and get trying them out – there’s bound to be something out there!
Make Exercise Part Of Your Family Life
Whether it’s a nightly dance party around the lounge or a long family walk every weekend, making exercise a part of your family life is the real key to keeping your child active. If it’s fun and something that’s part of the routine then you’re far more likely to be able to keep it up. It’s also a great opportunity to reconnect as a family and spend some quality time together away from distractions. Many people join sports and fitness clubs such as David Lloyd for these reasons as it allows them to have a morning of all doing different activities before re-grouping at the clubhouse together. Or for a lower cost activity, why not initiate a Sunday family walk that has a stop off at a pub or cafe along the route – a chance to chat, get some fresh air and a tasty treat along the way!
I’ve talked about smart watches but there are so many types of activity out there that are enhanced or driven by new technologies. From internet based sports classes to computer games that get you moving, using this technology no longer means your child is sat stationery in front of a computer for hours on end. App based exercise class subscriptions can be a great way for teens to find something they like without the public element of visiting a gym and fits around the hours they want to keep – yoga at midnight anyone!? Similarly YouTube has a wealth of videos suited to all ages, even yoga classes for little ones to get them into it.
Encourage A Healthy Balance
Being healthy and keeping active doesn’t mean your child has to be on the go all the time. To the contrary, it’s good to teach them about healthy balance from a young age. There’s a place for indulgent foods or time spent on computer games, providing it’s balanced with healthy foods and periods of activity – everyone needs a bit of downtime and it’s the only way to really ensure that you’re teaching your child a sustainable way of living!