Keeping Our Children Active in Summer Time
Photo Courtesy of Sylvia Mondragon
Summer is here and it is just about over. As my child and I prepare for the approach of a new school year, I realized that summer time grants children a lot of free time, which quite often, it’s spent sedentary, either watching tv, playing games or on mobile devices.
This summer I participated in a children’s summer program, where I worked with a range of children from ages 3 to 14. The gap in age range was not an issue, however the lack of endurance they were doing a minor physical activity was a concern.
I set up the program as a mixture of cardio and exercise such as sit ups, push ups and jumping jacks. Very often they would tell me they were tired and didn’t feel motivated to move. I was surprised to hear this from children, since I am about twice their age and I am very motivated and have conditioned myself for endurance. Soon we overcame the issue, after we established our routine they knew what to expect and enjoyed the activities.
It made me go back and analyze my 7-year-old son’s activity I realized I had been neglecting his physical activity. I’ve attempted to have my son join me in different activities and nothing seems to interest him, he is more into video games, of course this means he is sitting down. According to LetsMove.com 8-18 year olds spend about 7.5 hours watching tv, on the computer or cell phone.
Last week, when my husband was working on the lawn, my son picked up a rake and was happily racking away. He wanted to help as much as possible, of course it was all light play he considered work. He was able to play around for a little over an hour acting like he was sweeping, helping mow the lawn and creating mazes.
CDC’s (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being.
- May help improve students’ academic performance, including
- Academic achievement and grades
- Academic behavior, such as time on task
- Factors that influence academic achievement, such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom.
I’ve begun to make it mandatory to take my son for a walk. The first few days he begged that I call my husband for him to pick us up halfway, but when we began to sprint he enjoyed the rush so much he wanted to keep doing it.
It made me realize that we don’t have to spend a lot of money or time for our children to truly get in healthy exercise. We do have to be conscious of age proper physical activities. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
There is a difference in the physical activity which is better-suited for children than adolescents. Children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees.
Keeping our children active:
- Set the example for your child.
- Make it a routine to do a physical activity daily.
- Involve other friends or family members to make it more encouraging.
- Change it up from time to times, (visit water parks, walk shopping centers, interactive fountains, trail walks etc.)
It is important for children to do a form of physical activity for a minimum of 60 minutes. When school is back in session we should continue our routine. Luckily during the school year they have less time available for the electronics.