But for many of us, back to school also means back to fitness and exercise. A long, hot summer filled with beautiful sun-soaked vacation days is often the perfect excuse to abandon a workout routine. Maybe your gym buddy went on holiday and you found your motivation was lacking when you were on your own. Perhaps you were off camping with the kids so they stopped going to their regular ballet or karate classes in town.
Whatever the reason, as your family prepares to go back to school it is of the utmost importance to make time to exercise and for active play in everyone’s busy lives. Here’s a few tips to help get your kids moving:
- Have your kids and teens walk, skate or bike to and from school – many parents’ state safety concerns as the reason they drive their kids to school when they are within walking range. If you think your child is too young to walk on his/her own, see if he/she can walk with an older kid from the neighborhood or even better, another parent from the neighborhood who is walking with their kids.
- Give your kids a choice when it comes to after school physical activity. They can meet up with friends to play ball hockey, connect with other groups of kids at the playground or join a team so it’s fun, active, social – and what they want to do. It’s easy to fall into sedentary activities like video games and television in this period, but research shows that kids should be watching no more than two hours of TV per day—one hour for preschoolers.
- If your kids go to a sitter’s after school, ensure you have had a conversation with your caregiver or babysitter when it comes to active play after school instead of sedentary time. Ensure they know how important it is that your kids spend their time out bike riding, jumping rope, kicking around a soccer ball or playing hopscotch as opposed to watching tv.
- Sign you kids up for a regular weekly lesson or program – most recreation centres or fitness facilities organize their programs to coincide with the beginning of school terms. Organized programs keep kids active, teach new skills, help them gain self confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment when they successfully complete a program or move up to a higher level or badge.
- Join parent-child activities or classes and encourage your other family members to come and cheer you on at games and performances.
- Make sure you live an active life. It’s important for your kids to see you running, walking, playing sports regularly after work while maintaining a positive attitude.
Stay tuned – next month’s blog will offer up tips to help parents get themselves moving more and stop with the excuses!