How you can encourage your child to be active

(Image courtesy of tuelekza

These days fewer children are venturing outside and enjoying physical activity as much as they should be. Ask most parents about the games their children love to play and they’ll list computer games or games that can be downloaded on their parents’ phones. A decreasing percentage of children are opting for physical activity, even though using up that endless energy is essential for children in order to stimulate their growth in a healthy manner.

What categorises physical activity?

“Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.” World Health Organisation (WHO)

It is hard to clearly define what is classed as physical activity, but WHO advises that this should involve the movement of your body and the expenditure of energy. Activities like cycling, swimming, running and walking are various types of physical sport that you can indulge your children in, which would provide them with endless benefits into adulthood, like a younger, healthier and stronger body that slows down the ageing process and minimises the risk of age-related illnesses.

Benefits of physical activity:

According to health experts and doctors, it is very important for your child to stay physically active for at least one hour every day. As informative and important as this sounds, it is hard to put this into practice, especially when the TV or smartphone calls and you have a million and one things to get on with. As difficult as it is to watch your little one lounging around with a large bowl of chips and playing on his computer games, you need to put down the technological babysitter and be responsible for motivating and encouraging your child to be physically active. At a young age, when your child’s body undergoes several developmental changes, it is essential for the body to actively respond actively. Here are just some of the benefits of partaking in daily physical activity:

  • Muscle and bone strength
  • Healthy weight
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Good and peaceful sleep
  • Improved mental health
  • Fewer tantrums
  • Better immune system

Know what your child’s interests are:

While some kids are naturally active, some tend to stay away from such activities. The best way to encourage your child to be active is to understand what they like and whether or not there are any sports or games you can help them with. A good rule of thumb is to find activities that you can play together with your child. Some children may not be into football or baseball, but they love to run around in the park. So, plan to go to the park daily and create games that include running up and down. The more fun you inject into the game, the more interested your child would be.

My boys enjoying swimming

My boys enjoying swimming with swimming gear from Simply Swim

Never discourage the young and growing:

Sometimes, naturally active children are left demotivated to participate in sports or other activities at school, which could be down to all sorts of reasons, including failure or some kind of injury. It is important to ensure your kids do not feel like they have failed in any way. Learning at a young age that you don’t always play to win will stand them in good stead for the future. If your child has suffered an injury, there may be issues with fear of playing that sport again. Keep encouraging them that sometimes injuries happen and what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger. Stay on top of positivity, so that one day your child will feel strong enough to pick themselves up and start again in that particular sport. Ensure that you never force them into getting back on their feet too fast, they will decide when they are ready. If you are being too pushy, chances are your child will feel forced to participate in order to make you happy and, ultimately, you may close the door on them ever trying to play in that particular activity again. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, make it fun and your children will follow.

As parents, you are responsible for ensuring your children are and stay physically active. Support, guide and encourage your child to go out and play and if you are regularly exercising and staying active, you are setting an example that your children will follow for the rest of their lives. Some of the greatest athletes or sportspeople started featuring exercise early into their childhood and are now reaping the rewards of their active younger years. I regularly participated in swimming and racing events, and a few years ago participated in the London Triathlon twice in a row and many other race events in my adult years. It makes a difference what you do in your childhood years, so start now.

Completing a 5k for the Cityrace in 2006

Me completing a 5km for the Standard Chartered Cityrace back in 2006

The open water swim leg for the Mazda London Triathlon in 2007 - The River Thames!

The open water swim leg for the Mazda London Triathlon in 2007 – That’s the River Thames!


Swimming gear in the image above can be found here:

If you’d like to participate in your own triathlon, you can grab some great triathlon wetsuits at Simply Swim – perfect for River Thames water!

How you can encourage your child to be active - motherhooddiaries

*Collaborative feature post with Simply Swim*

*This post may contain affiliate or referral links*
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Christine Rudolph (1 Posts)

Sheerin jafri is a passionate blogger who loves to write on disciplines such as health care and life style. She is a featured author at various blogs and a staff writer at Centracare.org, a Tampa urgent care provider.