Obesity rates in children have skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s no wonder with children spending an average of 20 weeks watching TV. Sedentary lifestyles imparted on kids can carry into adulthood and lead to obesity and other serious problems. That’s not to say that watching TV is bad, but most experts will agree that time spent watching TV or playing video games should be limited.
If you would like to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your kids, the following are some of the best ways to get your kids off the couch and into exercise:
Know healthy limits
Most doctors, specialists and child psychologists agree that parents should enforce daily limits on TV time for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of television watching a day as more than that increases a child’s risk of obesity, lower test scores and higher instances of aggression.
Limit TV watching in creative ways
Many parents use the TV as a babysitter which encourages mindless TV watching. Instead of allowing kids to watch TV whenever they want, teach them that TV viewing is a privilege. For example, use TV viewing time as a reward for finishing homework is done, similar to an extra cookie for a clean plate at dinner. You can also let your kids pick one show a day to watch or limit TV watching to a movie before bed. There are many ways to teach your kids that watching TV is a reward or a privilege; it is not a right.
Show your kids healthy alternatives
Many kids watch TV because as a remedy for boredom. By encouraging a healthy lifestyle and exercise related alternatives, you will get your kids off the couch and into exercise. Encourage kids to ride their bikes or get outside and run around or play active games. If a child shows an interest in sports, consider signing him or her up for a league or school team.
Be a good example
If you spend the majority of your free time sitting in front of the TV, the example you set is not conducive to encouraging your kids to get active. Model healthy behavior by limiting TV time in the house for everyone and make time for exercise for yourself as well.
Exercise with your kids
One of the best ways to get your kids off the couch and into exercise is by exercising with your kids. There are many things you can do to exercise as a family including taking walks together, going for bike rides, taking your kids to the playground or park to play and playing tag or tossing a ball with them. This is not only a great way to get the kids off the couch and into exercise, but it’s also an ideal way to spend time together as a family.
More and more kids are replacing exercise and outside play with TV and video games as their sole form of entertainment. The best way to reverse this trend is by encouraging your kids to get off the couch and move. A little creativity will go a long way to accomplishing this goal as will your example of fitness.