Life Skills for Children A-Z – E is for Exercise

It’s a sad but not unsurprising fact that we now hear more and more in the news about how obesity in children is increasing. There are even reports of children being unable to catch a ball or complete simple exercises when they start school.

Many of these “problems” stem from an increasingly sedentary life style.

Children’s hobbies are no longer a list of physical outside activities like bike riding, kite flying or playing chase with the neighbours. These days a large percentage of the hobby list is taken up with playing on the Xbox, computer games, television, texting mates, etc. Exhausted from trying to do too much (or sitting on their backside doing too little in some cases), parents are only too happy to indulge them by using these or one of the many other technological gadgets now readily available as babysitters. Consequently, the balance of hobby time with these sedentary activities against the hobby time with physical activities is way too low.

It’s not just the hobby time that’s sedentary either. If we need to get out and about these days, most of us simply reach for the car keys. Other options don’t even enter our minds and as a result our children simply aren’t learning how to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their everyday lives.

So, here’s a whoop-ass call to action for you. Take a look at the physical activity you and your children get up to daily. I’m not talking an hour of aerobics or running here either, I’m talking about getting active in everyday activities like getting to school, visiting friends, clubs, etc. Once you’ve got your list, write down some more physically active alternatives and see if you can incorporate them into your lives. To give you a helping hand, here’s a list of things you’re highly likely to end up with on your list (coz we did when we did this) along with some healthier alternatives for getting active.

Daily Activity

Drive the children to school

Walk or Drive to a Friend’s House

Use the downstairs toilet

Kids watch TV while you clean

Squeeze in an aerobics class after work

Pay a babysitter so you can go to the gym

Let the dog into the garden to crap

Drive to the shops

Drive the car through the car wash

Park the car as near as possible to your destination

More Physically Active Alternative

Walk the children to school

Bike or Walk to the Friend’s House

Use the upstairs toilet

Get your child to clean with you

Pop in a CD and dance with your kids

Muscle toning exercises at home together

Take the dog out for a daily walk

Walk or Bike to the Shops

Hand wash the car

Park the car a few streets away or don’t take it at all

If you’re inspired by this, you can do the same thing with the treat activities that you get up to as a family. Think about what you do and come up with healthier alternatives.

Treat Activity

Go to MacDonalds

Go to the Pictures

Get Icecream

Healthier Treat Activity

Go Bike Riding Together with a Picnic

Go Swimming

Go Strawberry/Blackberry Picking

Once you’ve got your list of potential healthier alternatives, don’t be tempted to do everything at once – you’ll just put yourself and everyone else off. Start off by walking to school once a week, then twice, then every other day, etc. The new alternatives will quickly become the “norm” and you’ll be teaching your child the necessary life skills they’ll need to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their lives.

Let us know how you got on. What healthier activities did you come up with? What results did you get? Contact me on catATcandolifeskillsDOTcom or leave a comment below. We really do read everything!

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