Reactivate Your Child
The key to activating kids is to turn off the TV and redirect their attention. Reducing TV from more than 20 hours a week (the average for a New Zealand kid) to 7 can cut a child's obesity risk by one third.
Be sure you balance TV and computer time with active time. You might want to start by initiating "No TV T-days" or Game nights (where the whole family plays board and card games and goes for a long walk or bike ride before or after(Tuesday and Thursday). Just as you set a time for homework, set a time for play/exercise. This should come before TV time. Be a role model by making time to exercise as a family or by yourself.
Personally I like to employ a covert strategy here. By making exercise more appealing than TV (i.e. making a child believe it is more enticing). This can be achieved by:
- Role modelling (having your own goal of running a half marathon in 6 months time) - make it sound fun to your child and they will eventually bike along side you. Ask them to be your coach and get them to make you a chart you can stick on the fridge with gold stars - they can reward you for exercise, at the same time they are exercising too and thus giving you a double payoff!!! Also your own TV watching habits rub off on your children - be seen to be active and your children will follow.
- Going on walks where the goal at the end is to go to the zoo (where you can walk around it too!) or go to the beach to dig up buried treasure - don't let your imagination limit you here.... Its not too silly to be a pirate for the day if it gets your child active does it?
- Pretend that you and your child are part of a cycling team training for the Olympics....
- There is literally so much I could talk about here its exhausting, I believe that a children's imagination lives in all of us – just tap into that and you will find thousands of fun ideas….. just make sure you find that time!
- The more you draw your child away from TV and video games the more they will forget they exist. Why would you watch a TV programme when you had forgotten the story line and who the characters are!
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