Encouraging exercise with your family

Happy black people doing sport practice in city park. African american family with father teaching son how to play football.

Being physically active has numerous long-term benefits for infants, young children and adolescents, including healthy weight management, bone growth and improved sleep quality. In addition, encouraging your children to remain active is one of the best ways of ensuring their optimal health in the future, alongside improving their developmental skills and helping them stay focused and alert in the classroom.

Here are some tips to help develop healthy physical activity habits in your children.

Newborns and infants:

Start with simple activities such as tummy time play.

Use interactive toys to help infants develop motor skills like rolling, crawling and walking.

Mobile toys can be used to support development of motor skills.

Look for a local children’s museum, which often have sections dedicated to interactive play for little ones.

Young children:

Introduce them to outdoor play at the park or pool. Don’t forget to practice water safety, and bring along sunscreen!

Consider family vacations to a national or state park, or a day trip to the zoo.

Enroll your children in lessons for swimming, soccer, gymnastics, soccer, etc. If your child is reluctant to play team sports, avoid pressuring them. Instead, expose them to a wide variety of activities, and see which they show more interest in.

Adolescents and teenagers:

Family walks after dinner help them unplug and get some activity.

Encourage them to pursue involvement in a sport or activity.

If your child enjoys working out, encourage them to find a workout buddy to keep them motivated.

Parents:

Make it a family effort, children will often mimic the habits of their parents.

Take a walk with the dog as a family, or go on a family hike.

Remember to always keep safety and fun at the forefront of these efforts. Also, mix it up! Variety is key to keeping the family interested.