Whenever the question of keeping kids active arises, you can cue in the grumbling, back in my day, we used to play all day long- from when the sun was up until the sun was down. There was none of this cell phone or tablet business.
Okay, this is all true. Yes, back in my day (and I’m still in my twenties, so I know that I don't have a ton of leverage here), we rode bikes and played in the dirt and explored the playground that was our front and backyards with reckless abandon. We didn’t “plan” scheduled activity or exercise: it just happened like anything else just happened.
Today, times have changed. You don’t see lots of kids just running around in the front yard- you don’t see kids riding around on their bikes (unless they are behind their parents). You certainly don’t see the playful innocence that once characterized long summer days- where the only time you stopped moving was because Mom forced you to eat lunch or dinner.
But, I digress. Kids can still be very much active- it just may require a bit more creativity and modeling.
For example, I know that, even in my adult life, I very much embrace my inner child energy. That means I happily swing on the swings, jump on the trampoline, and swim in the ocean. I still get excited when I see animals, and I light up like a child when I eat ice cream. I do take life seriously when life needs to be taken seriously, but I also don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s a waste of mental and physical energy.
I’ve worked with kids long enough to know that when I am goofy and playing around, it encourages them to do the same. For every parent who’s wondering how to improve their kids’ physical activity, the advice here is simple: get moving with them!
It does not need to be forced or contrived. It doesn’t even need to be planned out. Just take a jump in the ocean. Build a sandcastle. Run barefoot through the freshly cut grass. Lie on your back and watch the clouds make different shapes.
Engage that inner child energy that you know lies within you. It’s what your kids want to see, and it’s what will ultimately make you feel happier and healthier as a parent.
I believe in the mantra that the day you decide you’re old is the day you’re actually old. And that means that you need to hold onto the idea that you can be a full-fledged adult and still run around and have fun like a kid.
How to keep your kids active and moving? Show them that it doesn’t have to be a chore- that it’s as simple as what lies in the backyard or the park or the beach, that it’s as natural as anything else!