Healthy children who participate in exercise and physical activities grow into habitually healthy adults
Teaching your children about exercise is vital to their cognitive, social and emotional development. In this blog, learn how to overcome the challenges necessary (and vital) to build and raise habitually healthy adults.
Raise your child with good habits by being a better role model. Your checklist to raising a habitually healthy child might already include reading together, serving healthy foods, and offering plenty of hugs. However, have you thought about incorporating exercise? When a physical activity becomes an everyday event, your kiddo will understand the importance and continue to grow in their practice. Eventually, a habitually healthy child will grow into a habitually healthy adult.
Why Exercise Is Important for Kids to Learn
Kids live to move – absolutely! However, exercise is so much more than getting ‘physically fit.’ Exercise helps their cognitive, social, and emotional development. It keeps their brains sharp, enhancing their ability to learn and improvement of their social skills. Think of exercise as an improvement for the ‘whole self‘ – mind, body, and spirit.
Exercise boosts blood flow all over the body, including the brain. As a result, brain cells get better at connecting. Think: the more you do something, the better you get at it.
What are the results?
- Better thinking skills. Researchers say regular exercise improves memory thinking skills. You may even see immediate results. There’s a reason why people ‘go for a run’ to clearer their heads. One study says children scored higher on math and reading comprehension on a test after exercising for 20 minutes.
- Higher confidence. Studies show that athletes are more confident. In turn, confidence may improve academic performance. Physically active children tend to get higher grades. There’re many factors that go into better grades, but we think better confidence due to exercise is strongly connected!
- Mood boost. Happier kids are exercising daily. Regular physical activity releases brain chemicals that are natural stress fighters. It seems like any exercise will help. Physically active kids have a better understanding of managing their moods.
- Solid sleep. Exercise tends to be hard work. There is a reason parents want kids to ‘go out and play’ after dinner. It’s to burn off excess energy for a solid night of sleep (and so parents don’t have to fight for ‘quiet time’ for themselves).
How to Get The Family Moving
It’s best to establish good habits early. As a result, this helps children enjoy exercise rather than avoiding it. In addition, an early start of learning these habits means reaping the benefits ahead of schedule. However, if parents are not making fitness a priority in their own lives, how do they expect their children to develop good habits? Your little kickin’ kangaroo may quickly become a comfy couch potato.
“Children are great imitators. So, give them something great to imitate.” – unknown
Set a good example
Grown-ups do not have to be perfect role models. However, a good example will go a long way! Kids pay attention (even when they don’t hear you say to pick up after themselves). So, make sure you set the standards as to liking and enjoying exercise. Also, it is up to the parent to promote the practice to their kids. They need time, space, and opportunity to play. It might not sound very easy, but it doesn’t have to be. Think: what exercise do you like? Your child might like it, too.
Helpful tips for challenges you may face
Finding time. If you find that your living situation or environment’s climate hinders your child’s opportunity to play, be more creative about finding space. And don’t fret, we’re all challenged by time – who can fit in everything they need into one day? That’s why fitness is best as a habit. Everyone finds time to brush their teeth and comb their hair; we need to find time to fit fitness into our daily schedule. Take a hard look at your schedules.
Let the Kids Be Kids – Safe & Locally. Parents may worry about free-play in the neighborhood. The Playful Child makes playtime fun AND safe. In this facility, you will find a mission to nurture the mind and body. They cultivate the healing value of unstructured play within our community by promoting a sustainable model based on play. Their facility promotes less screen-time and more creativity through messy and outdoor recreation. It’s a place where people are building connections through face-to-face communication.
Play together and apart. Demonstrate that you think play is essential by joining in on games. Perhaps help make a ‘cooking game show’ in the kitchen or set up a fort in the living room. You will get a chance to ‘move and groove’ while giving them a playmate they trust. But kids should be playing independently as well. They will learn so much when they play alone, such as creative self-expression, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
Schedule an ‘academic play date.’ If your child struggles in a subject at school, do a little research on converting that activity into a ‘playful game.’ If your child lacks math skills, consider counting frogs by the pond; if your child struggles reading, head to a bookstore or library. In most cases, they can pick out the book and read it on the spot.
Involve household activities. Dishes are a drag…until it’s a game! Involving household activities, like chores, makes a great way to fit in physical activities. Wait, the dishes? How? Pump up the tunes and dance in between scrubs. Anything can be turned into a jam session quite easily.
Replace screen time with ‘SCREAM’ time. If you feel the tension building in the home or your child’s life, tell them you are taking a ‘SCREAM’ time break. Take your child to a secluded area and start hollering. Run to the fence and back. Shake it out. Scream and shout. Dance about! Maybe try POSITIVE affirmations like, “I AM GOOD AT HELPING MY MOM!” or “I AM ENOUGH!” It feels good to scream. It feels good to scream positively and release negative energy. DISCLAIMER: Please be aware of neighbors thinking something is wrong. It’s vital to shout in a safe area, so nobody thinks you are injured or in trouble. Exercise on vacation. Training should not stop on vacation. It’s a habit, remember? Include physical family activities, like camping, kayaking, and snorkeling. Don’t forget to tell your child that these activities “count” as your day’s exercise. Even better, ask your child what kind of training they would like to do on vacation. Perhaps offer several options (within your budget).
Get your child into a good routine to help build cognitive, social, and emotional development. The sooner, the better! Introduce your child to new activities that might spark their interests. Attend a yoga class or send them to a martial arts course. In the long run, the investment is worth it. When you incorporate exercise into your child’s life, you are establishing healthy habitual habits to succeed in their future.