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6 Ways to Keep Kids Active During the School Year

keep kids active during the school yearStaying active is important for our children’s developing bodies. Not only do they need to burn off all the sugary foods in our diet, but they need to build strong habits that stick with them for the rest of their lives. Just because their minds are getting worked out in school doesn’t mean they can slack on exercising their bodies. Here are some ways you can keep your kids active during the school year.

1. Sign them up for a sports league.

Many schools take part in their own inter-school league for the mainstream sports. Numerous studies show that kids benefit immensely from being a part of a team sport. They learn valuable life skills like teamwork, setting goals, and respecting authority. Plus, they get plenty of exercise. Make sure to be your child’s biggest fan so they are encouraged to continue and stay active. If activity is your goal, make sure your child actually gets playing time.

2. Sign them up for an active afterschool activity.

It isn’t necessary to play a competitive sport to get some exercise. Sign your child up for dance, gymnastics, hiking, martial arts, or anything else your community offers. Your local YMCA probably offers a class for each age group that’s dedicated to active games and play.

3. Banish the TV.

Television lulls us to inactive lifestyles. It’s easy entertainment and it’s always available. Insist the TV stays off on school nights so your kids play with one another, rather than sit still on the couch. You don’t have to send them outside, but even if they aren’t running and jumping, their play is bound to use more movement than the TV requires.

4. Be active as a family.

You can turn a walk into an adventure just by taking one as a family. Make staying active something you all do together. You could even ride your bikes or hike through the woods. Most importantly, if you seem excited to participate in active activities, your kids will too.

5. Encourage playdates.

Many parents are reluctant to let friends visit during the school week because they throw a wrench into everyone’s routine. There’s an extra person to feed, homework may not get done, and invariably you’ll end up driving someone somewhere. But kids tend to play more actively with one another than they would by themselves. By letting your child’s friend visit (or sending your child to his/her friend’s), they’re more likely to move around.

6. Make sure they get enough sleep.

Poor sleep or lack of sleep makes a person sluggish the next day, especially kids whose developing bodies desperately need sleep. If they don’t sleep properly at night, they’ll refuse to be active during the day, creating a cycle of inactivity. Make sure everyone sleeps so they build up the energy they need for the next day.

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