We all want our kids to get outside and play so they can stop annoying us and we can drink just one cup of coffee, just one dammit, whilst it is still HOT!!!! Please…….
Oh what I mean is so they can be more active and healthy.
Sometimes though, you’ll meet with resistance as the little buggers fight back. As much as they enjoy running around in the mud and climbing trees and ruining their clothing, it seems increasingly that stuff just can’t compete with playing Minecraft or watching an episode of Adventure Time for the 70th time. Quite frankly I don’t care who Dan TDM is – and if I hear Annoying Orange being annoying one more time, my television will end up on Buy Swap and Sell!
Experts recommend our kids get 60 minutes of physical activity in each day. Do these experts have children?? I know I spend at least 60 minutes a day searching for socks – so I get my exercise. But now winter is here, that doesn’t leave a lot of time after school before it gets dark. Short of burning their Minecraft villages to the ground, what else can you do to coax them to be more active and detangle themselves from their electronic devices?
1. Find activities the whole family can enjoy
Not every kid is sporty and athletic and the idea of playing an organised sport might sound like torture to them. For these kids, experiences playing team sports at school can actually turn them off the idea of being active and exercising. But as we know, there are lots of other ways to get moving, it doesn’t have to involve playing footy or netball.
Try activities you can all do together like swimming, dancing, rock climbing, going to the park and so on.
As a family we love to jump on the trampoline, play cricket and chase the kids with a hose.
2. Get them to walk or ride to school, if possible.
This isn’t going to be an option for everyone, I know. But if your circumstances mean you live within a safe walking or riding distance, this is a great way to get your kids to be active every single school day. Ten to twenty minutes walk or ride each way soon adds up.
3. Geocaching – Technology AND Exercise
Geocaching is a new-fangled high-tecnology pastime that the whole family can enjoy – and get your steps up at the same time. It involves using GPS coordinates to find ‘hidden treasures’ – much like a scavenger hunt – but in your own neighbourhood. All you need is a smart phone and download the App. Make sure you re-hide the treasure for someone else to find.
4. Get them Gardening
I admit I wish I could convince my kids that weeding and mowing the lawn are fun activities they should be spending hours doing every week. But I’m realistic, because those things alone suck and we all know it. However kids do love to get in amongst it in the garden. You can set up a gardening project where they are responsible for nurturing veggies, fruits or flowers which they’ll love to watch grow. Spending time tending to their bit of garden, digging, weeding, planting and watering is fun for them as well as being quite physical. And you’re teaching them them valuable life skills to boot.
We are currently growing zucchini and the kids rush out every morning to pick the ripe ones – makes them more inclined to eat them – and if they don’t eat them – I’ll just grate them into their food anyway **evil laugh**.
5. Try a scavenger hunt
Go for a walk around the neighbourhood with the dog, or go for a bushwalk together. You’ll be able to cut down on them whining about it if you make a game of it by setting a “scavenger hunt” of things they need to find while you’re out and about exercising together. Try leaves, plants, animals and other things you know they are likely to spot on the walk.
6. Get them to compete with each other
Using an activity tracker is a great way to get the kids to compete with each other to see who can do the most each day. You know how competitive kids can be, especially when there’s sibling rivalry involved! For a limited time you can purchase a Milo Champions Band for $39.99 with a bonus tin of Milo that they’ll love equally. Hmmmmm Milo.