Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Even before I got my nutrition degree, I was always interested in helping keep kids healthy. Over the years I have worked with countless children and the number of them I would see who were already struggling with their weight was heart-breaking. The childhood obesity rate in this country is already quite alarming and it continues to grow each year. In fact, nearly 3 out of every 10 kids is overweight or obese.
I have to blame this in part on lack of physical activity. Current recommendations suggest that kids get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day, yet only a quarter of them are actually getting that much. Most kids I see day to day are more interested in playing on their electronics than getting any sort of exercise. So over the years, I have made it a priority that my own kids get some form of physical activity each and every day. It can be as simple as taking a walk after dinner. They know for at least an hour each day, electronics are off-limits and they need to be outside running around, riding their bikes, and playing in the sunshine. They may have grumbled at times, but over the years they have come to enjoy it.
Do you struggle to keep your child active? Here are 5 tips that can help encourage daily physical activity.
- Find ways to make exercise fun for kids. Every child is different. What one child really enjoys doing, another might hate. My children don’t really enjoy sports of any kind, but they do love geocaching, playing with my old color guard flags, and riding their bikes. The type of physical activity isn’t really important – it just matters that the kids are away from their electronics a bit and moving their bodies.
- Don’t call it exercise. To a child (and some adults) exercise seems like too much work and has a negative connotation. Instead call it “playing” and they will be much more cooperative.
- Reward daily activity. One of my children really dislikes any sort of physical activity. She would much prefer to spend a sunny afternoon inside reading or playing on her Kindle. So over the summer we came up with a rewards system that encouraged physical activity. She had to earn her electronics time. For hour of physical activity (her choice), she earned a half hour of electronics time (up to an hour a day).
- Participate with your child, don’t just watch from the sidelines. The family that plays together, stays healthy together! Take an after dinner walk, play frisbee, or start a game of baseball.
- Download the BGCA Triple Play Parents Game Plan. It is filled with tips on encouraging your kids to stay active, developing healthy eating habits, and strengthening interpersonal Skills.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America Triple Play program was developed ten years ago in partnership with the Coca-Cola Company and Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Foundation. The Triple Play healthy lifestyle program aims to help kids learn about the importance of good nutrition and daily physical activity with the objective of reducing the childhood obesity rate in this country. Since the BGCA Triple Play program launched back in 2005, they have shared the importance of healthy eating and physical activity with nearly ten million kids!
The BGCA Triple Play program focuses on achieving health through mind, body, and soul. The Mind component focuses on getting kids the knowledge that will enable them to make smart food choices. The Body component is focused on encouraging physical activity in kids in a fun way. The Soul component offers kids social activities that will help them learn interpersonal skills.
I recently downloaded the BGCA Triple Play Parents Game Plan so I could try out some of the activities with my kids. It is 34 pages and chock full of fun activities to enrich your child’s mind, body, and soul. Not only does it include fun games to play with your kids, but it also has other helpful information like proper stretching, warm-ups and cool-downs, and plenty of sound nutrition advice.
My daughters really loved the game ideas included. One of the games was tag – with a twist. Instead of tagging with your hands, you have to tag with your elbows. You don’t quite realize how much easier the game is when you are able to stretch out your arms to tag someone! It was quite amusing seeing them run around the yard with the elbows up in the air trying to tag each other. Even my daughter who prefers to have her nose stuck in a book enjoyed playing this game.
After that we played the Balloon Swat Relay. It’s like a traditional relay race, but you have to keep a balloon from touching the ground as you return to your team. So you swat the balloon as you go along to keep it in the air. If the balloon touches the ground, you have to go back to the start.
Eventually it evolved into a balloon race with my 2 girls seeing who could get back to our deck the fastest without dropping the balloon.
My girls had so much fun playing, they didn’t even realize that most of an hour had passed and it was getting dark. They are already talking about wanting to play the balloon race game again tomorrow after school. That’s the key to encouraging physical activity in kids – you have to make it fun!
I definitely appreciated all the tips and ideas in the BGCA Triple Play Parents Game Plan. It’s so important to instill healthy habits in our kids. If children learn the basics of good health when they are little, they are much more likely to apply it to their lives as adults. The Triple Play guide is a great resource for any parent wanting to ensure that their child develops healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
Want to learn more about the BGCA Triple Play Program?