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Keeping your child active can be one of the most difficult parts of parenting. Getting your kids moving is crucial for their health. And – spoiler alert! – it starts when they are very little, and continues for decades! In the photos below: on the left, I am just behind Maggie as we head off to the park to help our granddaughter learn how to ride a bike; on the right, I am trudging behind my 17-year-old because she still needs a little support with her new sport of roller skating (yes, skating – she is retro). This all happened in just the last week. So, basically, it never ends … but ultimately, it IS worth it. Plus, it keeps you fit and active while you are doing it!
And now – here are some tips for getting your children active from a young age, as well as advice on how to incorporate exercise into their everyday routines, from guest poster Tina Whittle.
Healthy = happy
With the World Health Organization (WHO) recently releasing data that an estimated 41 million children under 5 were overweight or obese in 2014, it’s more crucial than ever that we take steps to keep our children healthy and active.
Whether it’s running around the garden, playing in the park, or swimming lessons, keeping your young ones physically active is crucial to development. But with reports suggesting that only one in three children is active every day, how can we incorporate more exercise into our children’s daily routines?
From walking the dog to biking to school, it’s easier than you might think to get your kids active.
Small children often have bags of energy, so when you ensure that they get their daily dose of exercise, you’re also helping to ensure some peace for yourself come bed time! Below, we’ve listed some tips to keep your young ones active and busy:
- Small household chores – tidying their rooms, bathing the dog, etc.
- Family bike rides – with child bike seats available for adult bikes, you can strap your littlest ones safely on the back. Trail-along bikes make it safe for slightly bigger children to cycle with you. Read more here about how to use trail-along bikes and tandems to get your kids cycling safely with you.
- Walk the dog – encourage the children to get involved with pet care.
- Walk, cycle, skate, or run to school – leave the car at home and encourage more active modes of transport. This will often have the extra benefit that you will get some exercise too! Read here about how to help your kids cycle to school.
- Don’t forget the old favorites – just making time to take your kids to the park will open the door to hours of healthy exercise and fun for them.
- Activity weekends and holidays – after a busy week, it’s tempting to sit the kids in front of the TV while you relax, but it’s essential that you and your children spend time outdoors. Next time you plan a holiday, pick one that will make it easy to be active. For example, Whistler in British Columbia is surrounded by a network of miles and miles of safe, mostly flat, family-friendly bike trails. You can ride all day from lake to lake. Read all about the Whistler Valley Trail here.
Also called strider bikes – balance bikes look a bit like a cross between a scooter and a bike.
Kids from the age of about two and a half to three and a half can use these bikes to develop balance. After that, many can graduate directly onto bikes without the use of training wheels.
Even if they need training wheels on their first bike, they will already have learned the basic concept of balancing while moving on their balance bikes, and will very quickly be able to graduate to riding bikes without training wheels. Once they know how to ride bikes, encourage them to cycle more and make sure they have fun with it by following the tips to encourage your kids to cycle more here.
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Through the years
As technology grows increasingly more accessible, the temptation to sit indoors with social media and video games is more tempting than ever. Find the time and the right place, and do really fun outdoor activities with your kids.
By highlighting the importance of exercise from an early age and showing your kids that exercise can be fun, you’ll be putting them on the path to a healthy and happy future.
Maggie wrote a great post about how to teach your child to ride a bike: 9 Simple Steps to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike.
If your child is still too young to ride a bike, consider taking him or her along on your own bike! Read our in-depth post, 7 of the Best and Safest Baby and Child Bike Seats, with Reviews and Videos.
See also our helpful Post, Complete Bike Frame Size Guide for Adult Bikes and Kid’s Bikes.
And for more ideas, see our post on the 5 best ways to exercise with your family this summer!
Children’s bikes are available for all ages, sizes and abilities. From your toddler’s first tricycle, right up to their very first mountain bike, an appropriate bike will allow your kids to get out and be active.
This guest post was written by Tina Whittle. Tina works for PreciousLittleOne. Outside of PreciousLittleOne, she is a mobile Holistic/Beauty therapist who enjoys a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
Any spare time Tina has is spent with her family and friends. Tina has many hobbies and interests, including fine dining, dog walking, going to the gym, and cooking.
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