Nowadays with the distractions of television, video games, the Internet and so on, it can be hard to convince children to step outside. However, physical activity is vital to children for a number of reasons related to health, personal and mental wellness. Playing sports is a great way to allow children to connect with peers, and encouraging exercise can build healthy habits well into their adulthood. In addition, physical activity is vital for maintaining a healthy weight, as obesity is a growing concern among children today.
Teaching children to love the outdoors doesn’t have to be a chore. If your children are spending too much time on the couch, then the following tips can help you encourage them to head outside.
Consider Their Interests:
Every child has their own set of diverse interests and preferences; it’s up to the parent to find the right opportunity for their loved one. Does your child prefer to play in the water or walk through nature? Do they like to play with a team or in a solo environment? These questions can give parents a better idea of what activity best suits their child. If they’re embarking on outdoor activities for the first time, then try giving them a sample of a variety of sports. Not only will a wide range of activities expose children to what’s available, it will also make it more likely that they’ll stick with an activity long-term.
Make it Simple:
It’s only natural that parents want the best for their children, to nurture them to strive for the top. However, don’t place too much pressure on your child and push them to become a world-class athlete. This can place a great deal of stress on children, quickly turning them away from any outdoor activity. Instead, make the activity as simple for them as possible, focusing on relaxing fun and entertainment. In addition, you don’t want to overload your children with too many tasks or goals. Instead, break down the activity and try to make the endeavor digestible and easy to handle.
Involve the Family:
If children see parents actively engage and enjoy the outdoors, they’ll be more inclined to join in as well. Therefore, try to involve the entire family in the endeavor, playing sports together. For example, go on a family hike or an outing to the zoo. Camping trips to the beach or the desert are also great ways to expose them to the outdoors. Set the example for your children through your actions, and encourage them to explore nature.
In general, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that screen time is limited to one to two hours a day. Therefore, limiting your child’s access to distractions indoors can be a great way to compel them to go outside. Take precautions when using this method; if you place too strict a ban on video games or television, it can cause resentment and reluctance.
Integrate into Everyday Activities:
Going outdoors doesn’t have to be a set task; in fact, there are a number of opportunities that can encourage physical activity throughout the day. For example, instead of taking the car, try to walk with them to the grocery store or library. Not only will it naturally keep them outside, it can also create healthy, sustainable habits well into their adulthood.