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How to raise active kids

Updated on May 23, 2011

Active Children

Most younger children, given the choice, would choose to be active. Nurseries and schools recognise this and fitness activities are structured and implemented into the curriculum. It's up to us as parents to build good healthy routines and practices into their lives. With childhood obesity at an all-time high, there is no time like the present to consider a change of lifestyle, however small, for your family. The British Medical Association (BMA) published a briefing in March 2010, and their findings are very concerning:

1 in 5 children are overweight

1 in 10 of these children are obese or severely obese.

So what can we do as parents?

Children learn by what they see, so make fitness fun and they will be more receptive and willing to take part in activities, especially if all of the family are involved. Motivation is the key, and by making fitness enjoyable children will respond in a positive manner. If implemented at as early an age as possible, will last throughout their lives.

Ideas for healthy activities

Most sports are fun and enjoyed by children of all ages. Why not look at doing some of these actiivities as a family:

Walking - Walking the dog, walking to the park, walking to friends, walking to school. Buying the kids a pedometer is a fun way to encourage them to gauge how far they have walked in a day or a week.

- Playing football or catch in the garden or park is a lovely way to spend a few hours together. Vary the games by taking different toys along each week e.g. skipping ropes, roller skates, hula-hoop, bat and ball, frisbee, toy golf set, skateboard etc. Helping with the gardening also educates children about their environment, wildlife and recycling.

Cycling - Go on a bike ride. Cycle around your local area and explore, or try one of the many cycle tracks around the country. For a list of cycle tracks near you, visit

After school activities - Look around for some local clubs that your child would be interested in joining. There is so much choice available - i.e. cheerleading, dancing, gymnastics, football, martial arts, running etc, the list is endless. Your local authority, library and community centre should be able to provide you with what's on in your area.

Swimming - Visiting the local swimming pool once a week as a family is a great way for everyone to get excercise - AND IT'S FUN!

Not all activities have to be sports orientated, some activities carried out indoors are are just as stimulating and could include:

chores, board games, miming games, role playing, puzzles, reading, drawing, helping with cooking, washing up etc.One way that I found helped my child be more active when she was younger was to complete a chart for carrying out an activity each day, and then reward her by allowing her to choose the family activity at the end of the week.

Indoor Play Areas - This is good fun for younger children as they can play safely in ball ponds and climbing on soft equipment.

swimming is good excercise for all the family
swimming is good excercise for all the family | Source

What changes to implement

  • Limit time spent watching television
  • Limit time spent on the computer
  • Limit the time spent gaming
  • Spend more quality time together as a family

By offering attractive alternative activities, most children want fun and quality time with their families. Parents should always lead by example - If a child sees their parents as "couch potatoes" then they themselves will have no desire to be active.

Children should be praised and encouraged when taking part in an activity, this instils confidence and boosts their self-esteem. Maybe you could take turns in choosing the activity. Choice is also important to children as this will give them some control and encourage them to make decisions

These days, most parents have to work out of necessity and rarely spend much time talking to their children or doing any activities as a family. As parents, we should set aside a few hours per week to do things together. Sometimes when we get home from work, we get caught up in household matters and don't find the time to catch up. In fact, according to a Daily Mail online survey in 2009, 55% of parents stated that the only way they spent any time together as a family was watching TV. Could we spend our time together more wisely by perhaps going for a walk after dinner, or playing in the garden?

Fresh outdoor air is important to all of us as it stimulates our minds, cleans our lungs and increases energy levels. As a childs fitness level increases, so does their outlook on life. They will begin to feel healthier, happier and actually want to be active. Incorporating outdoor play and activities should be carried out whenever possible.

Life passes by so quickly and our kids don't stay kids for very long. Try to make the most of each day and take some time out to enjoy family activities. Healthy children are more active and content.



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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ Sara - Great idea. Pool toys are great fun, all kids love to play around in water. Even kids my age. Lol. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Sara 5 years ago

      I liked your post. Have you ever gotten your kids pool toys from After seeing that little one in the water (pictured above) I did a quick search and found that site. Was thinking about ordering some before spring hits and the kids are asking to take a dip!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ aware - Thanks Ray for your comments which I really appreciate. Getting kids to use their time wisely is a task in itself. They have so much more to do that I did as a child, yet, I still hear some kids saying they are bored. They just lack imagination and find it easier to sit in their rooms with all their computer wizardry! Since starting high school recently, my daughter has joined every after school club, runs, skates, cheerleads and swims. I'm exhausted just watching her.

    • aware profile image

      aware 6 years ago from West Palm Beach Florida.

      This is a great hub. All good parenting tips. Raising a child, building young men and woman .Is not a easy task. Character Building i feel is a curriculum much needed in today's school system. Teaching our children personal accountability, proper use of time , sense of purpose,self esteem and compassion is paramount . i find the info on this hub to be helpful. which in my book is the best thing a person can do for others . good job


    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Thanks again for stopping by and for your feedback which I appreciate. It's an important point you make, if kids see their parent(s) as being active, they are more likely to be active themselves.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      So far so good with my children (aged 9,6 & 2) - none are showing any signs of being overweight. They are in organized sports and also are given plenty of time to have unorganized physical activities. That their dad keeps reasonably fit and active I am sure helps. That we do not have a TV subscription service with any cable or satellite company also helps - the kids don't sit in front of the TV hardly ever. Great hub earning you a vote-up, useful and awesome.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Thank you for your comment. What you say is indeed very true, healthy diets are important.

    • profile image

      mommyloves2write 6 years ago

      It also helps to have your kids eat a healthy diet, so junk food sluggishness does not overtake them. Very informative Hub!