How to Get Kids Up off the Couch and Moving
Kids are spending more and more playing video games and watch television while sitting on the couch. Neither of these activities offer enough physical activity to meet even the most minimal standards out there. Trying to get kids to stop playing video games and initiate activities is like trying to convince a cat to do dog tricks. Maybe the trick is to encourage activities they choose so that they get off the couch willingly! Don’t know what to do? Here are some tips to help get your kids off the couch:
Call the other parents in the neighborhood and set up a schedule of kickball games, ghost in the graveyard, baseball, etc. Provide some refreshments. Make the activities into a league with a championship. Kids like friendly competition and will be attracted to the chance to get out with friends. These activities will also build a sense of community in the neighborhood.
United Way, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity hospitals and other nonprofits often offer volunteer work for kids. Many times the local high school will have information on these opportunities. Volunteer work gives kids a new perspective on life and it offers them the chance to be helpful and unselfish. Eventually it is great resume material.
There are so many activities for families in the community. The zoo, the fair, the local swimming pool, and even the high school track offer chances for more active recreation. For the sake of getting out of the house, how about going to the movies, having a picnic, or heading to an amusement park? Families that play together stay together. It is important to make memories as a family.
There are a lot of community sports leagues. Organizations like CYO, little league, etc., off kids the chance to participate in sports year round. Most school systems offer a variety of sports programs for kids, including everything from golf, to soccer, to football to swimming. Sports are a great way to teach kids team work. Sports can improve a kid’s self-concept and self-esteem. Kids in sports spend less time on the couch.
Parks and Playgrounds
Parks are great for hikes. Some of the national parks actually have hiking programs where you keep track of the trails you have completed and get an award for hiking them all. Give kids a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of things that are found in the woods and give them a prize for whomever gets the most. You might put things like acorn, bark, oak leaf, pine cone, and moss on the list. Kids can learn and have fun at the same time.
Playgrounds offer kids the chance to socialize with other kids. A lot of the playground equipment is intended to help kids get exercise and movement. When kids play together in the playground they often let their imaginations go and get involved in very creative play. Its’ not that difficult to get a kid to go to the playground.