Encouraging active living with our families – Part 2
Get the whole family to move more through physical activities and sit less.
Active play in children is work. They can learn several skills while playing with you or other children. Active play can promote cooperation and sharing as they play and getting along with other children. Their creativity and curiosity will increase as they explore their world indoors and outdoors. Active play will increase their learning skills as their body and brain develop. Children’s independence and confidence will increase as they learn to make choices and control their actions.
Active play can help and promote a child’s body building development. It will build their strength, flexibility and endurance as they explore and experience their world. The coordination of their large and small muscles will be used more and develop as children play. They will learn as they grow to become more aware of their body and what the can accomplish.
Michigan State University Extension says that as with adults, active play can relieve stress and promotes good sleep. This is a positive activity that can also release excess energy (less stress on the adult). As children sit less and move more, this will lower their chances of becoming overweight. By getting children to become active at an early age will help protect them later in life against diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Try to make your child’s active play fun! This way they will be more willing to take part in the activity. Some suggestions would include:
- Have a safe place inside where the children can have room to jump, toss things (socks or a small ball into a laundry basket), jump and roll or hopping.
- Have a designated area outside for running. If you do not have an area, go to a nearby park. If it is close, walk or ride a bike there.
- Have bikes or balls, as this will promote active play.
- Build this into your normal routine, such as after dinner.
Remember, our children will pick up real quick when we are physically active. The more fun we make it; the more willing they will be to participate. Make it simple, when my children were young, they enjoyed the simple things and enjoyed nature. We would walk many nature trails in town. They also enjoyed walking the dogs. I would also take them to indoor and outdoor pools. Check with your local state parks, community centers, YMCA/YWCA’s and local universities/college’s for free or low cost swimming or physical activity programs.
Remember to consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program. For more on active families read Encouraging active living with our families – Part 1.
For more information about active playing with your child, go read the Nibbles for Health newsletters.