Healthy living starts with an active lifestyle, and there is no question that our kids’ 9-hour-a-day media intake can interfere with that. Because the CDC recommends that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day, we’ve compiled a few ideas and resources for you to encourage your child to start moving!
When discussing new ways to get your child active, collaboration is key. Children and teens are more likely to engage in an activity if it was their idea. Creating an environment where you and your child can work together to come up with an activity they will enjoy is crucial for long-term success.
Initiate a Family Power Hour
Whether you make it weekly or daily, try to set aside a specified amount of time that your family does something active together. Whether it is a trip to Zilker Park to throw the Frisbee, a hike in one of Austin’s several green spaces or just a casual walk around the neighborhood after dinner, make a commitment with your kids to approach healthy living as a team.
There’s an App for That!
Common Sense Media has created a list of youth-friendly phone apps that are designed specifically for fitness. Some of the recommendations are:
- BattleSteps – turn physical activity into a friendly competition
- Sworkit Kids – your child’s very own personal trainer
- NFL Play 60 – get points for moving, running and jumping
We aren’t suggesting that you give your child a prize or money for daily physical activity, but consider rewarding good behavior to see if it leads to healthy habits. For example, if your child helps you cook a healthy meal and fits in 60 minutes of physical activity into one day, try letting them pick the film next time it’s family movie night.
The best way to get your children moving is to set a healthy example for them. If you make exercise a priority, your children will begin to understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
By: Katie Taylor, child life specialist at St. David’s Children’s Hospital