According to a survey released by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, it was reported that due to the covid related lockdown in UAE there has been 46 per cent reduction in the rate of physical activity of children, who were active pre-covid. It also reported an increase in the rate of obesity among children. This is why it has become important that we not only discuss the importance of physical activity in children but also make sure that we follow through with it.
Summer is here and with our children being on summer vacation, it gives them even more free time to be sitting with their eyes stuck on the electronic gadgets. As parents, it is necessary that we keep an eye on their daily habits and ensure that they get enough physical exercises to stay fit.
Before starting anything related to your child’s health, it is always advised that you talk to an expert regarding your child’s fitness requirement. If your child is obese or too skinny or someone with special needs, they may require some special attention and physical activity plans to help them become fitter. This is why talking to an expert will give you a better idea as to how to take things ahead.
Fix a time, around the morning or evening, whichever suits best for your child. Stick to the time every day. Start with going for 3 days, then 5, then take it up to a week, this will slowly help your child form a habit in no time. Remove unhealthy food from home and make any changes beforehand that would help you in your plan. For eg. moving TV out from the bedroom, password protecting electronic gadgets etc.
You cannot all of a sudden make someone stop a habit. The same goes for children too. Suddenly asking them to stop playing games on gadgets or watching TV will only make them throw a tantrum. Initially, start by limiting the time they spend on these unproductive activities. Then restrict it to a few hours of the day but set conditions.
Children mimic their parents. By being physically active and setting an example, you can encourage your kids in the best way to involve in physical activities. If the whole family is doing it together, naturally your child will also feel the need to participate as a part of the family, and the message about the importance of physical fitness reaches them better compared to when only they are made to exercise.
You cannot just simply expect a child to start exercising by giving them a big speech about its impact on health. Even if they did understand its importance, at their age what matters to them is having fun. Make sure whatever you have planned, keep it under the guise of fun activity or a game so that not only your child enjoys it, but also looks forward to doing it again.
One cannot emphasize enough the importance of a well balanced diet when it comes to fitness of both mind and body. Eating right will provide your child essential nutrients that will help in their physical and mental development. Eating unhealthy snacks, junk food, and processed food will only cause them more harm. Include whole wheat grains, proteins, nuts and seeds, colourful fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Develop a practice of giving them gifts that promote physical activity. There are even video games that require physical movements to be played. Such gifts will keep your kids up on their toes and help them get their daily dose of physical activity to stay fit.
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Let’s be honest, kids can get pretty competitive especially when they have siblings. You can channel their competitiveness in a healthy way to make them be better at physical activities. Make it a contest to see which sibling can perform better at a certain exercise or who can endure it long.
Whatever method you choose to introduce more physical activities in your child’s daily routine, the bottom line is to make it seem like a fun family activity and not a burdensome task for them. Along with their fitness keep track of their diet and mental health too. Make sure they get enough sleep, nutrients, and water to develop well.
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