Daily activity is part of a healthy lifestyle for any family. For children age 4-6 who are mastering basic movement skills such as catching, rolling, bouncing, kicking and tossing a ball, jumping, walking on a balance beam, running, pedaling a tricycle, and hitting a ball with a bat it’s an exciting time of many first adventures. Skills learned during this time really lay the foundation for more complex activity and sports down the road. Children’s behaviors often model parent’s behaviors well past childhood. Being active as a family creates healthy practices for life.
To assist in getting the family active, Choose MyPlate suggests the following strategies for parents to get active and teach your child about the importance of healthy activity.
- Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall.
- Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.
- Push the baby in a stroller.
- Get the whole family involved – enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids.
- Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.
- Walk the dog – don’t just watch the dog walk.
- Clean the house or wash the car.
- Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.
- Do stretches, yoga, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
- Mow the lawn with a push mower.
- Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.
- Play with the kids – tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle, or dance to favorite music.
- Sneak in exercise with these 7 sly ways to get moving more.
- Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk or skate the rest of the way.
- Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10 -minute walk. Ask a friend to walk with you.
- Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.
- Join the office softball or bowling team.
- Walk, jog, skate, cycle, canoe, kayak, swim.
- Play racquetball, tennis, or squash.
- Ski cross-country or downhill.
- Play basketball, softball, or soccer.
- Hand cycle or play wheelchair sports.
- Take a nature walk or hike.
- Most important – have fun while being active!
Limit time spent on sedentary activities. Some helpful ideas include:
- T.V., video games and computer time should be limited to no more than 2 hours per day. TV not only decreases children’s activity level but repeated exposure to TV food commercials can influence children’s food preferences.
- Child care and babysitting should not include sitting in front of TV for long periods of time.
Go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for more health related tips.