In this age of computers and electronic gadgets, many kids spend more time playing computer games than getting active outdoors. Kids find the virtual world truly fascinating, and role-playing via game characters imaginatively more fun than running around the neighborhood. But many child welfare professionals find this undesirable because it deprives the child of the benefits high levels of activity provide him, the most important of which is the right physical development.
If you think your child is becoming more couch-oriented than normal, perhaps it is time to get him more physically active. There are several suggested ways below.
Be Active Yourself
Children tend to emulate their parents or at least older people. They model themselves on adults they respect or interact with, most often their parents. Getting active yourself will encourage them to do the same, if only to discover what the grown-ups are up to. Remember, children are on the voyage of discovery and they take their leads from adults or parents.
Take your family out on activity days
A weekend of camping, fishing, swimming, biking or some active pastime can do a lot in getting your children to prefer an active over a sedentary childhood. At the very least it will get him off the television or computer for a day. Furthermore, you might on an activity your child will enjoy, but does not know until he experienced it. Many professional anglers, for instance, began their career this way: on their first fishing outing they suddenly decided to make it their lifetime activity.
Keep activity equipment always on hand
Basketball balls and a hoop in the backyard, a skipping rope, some bats or frisbees can encourage your child to use them when they are bored or at a loss to do something, particularly if they have friends over to play with.
Limit TV or computer time
Help to make them consider other activities which may be more active pursuits. You will meet active or passive resistance but a consistent policy will get them more interested in activities other than watching YouTube.
Ask the children to participate in house chores
Raking leaves, hosing the driveway, beating the rug and even vacuuming the carpet may be considered active time. If they are still small, it may be necessary to work the same chores with them just to encourage them to do the chores.
Encourage your children to play
Get them to play with their peers rather than staying alone in front of the TV or computer. Offer to teach them what active you know such as one-ring basketball, sandlot baseball, even dancing. Any activity that uses their muscles can contribute to an active lifestyle.
These are just some suggestions, and one or more may apply to your particular circumstances, but you can also think up others similar to these. The objective here is to interest them in more active pursuits and wean them away from being couch potatoes. The first steps are to show them the activities so they will know how to enjoy them, and hopefully, adopt the activities as their own favorites.