How Do You Encourage Your Youngest Children to Exercise?

In the fight against childhood obesity the British health department issued a statement today encouraging the youngest kids to exercise more. Kids under five who can walk should be physically active for at least three hours a day. Officials also said parents should reduce the amount of time such kids spend being sedentary while watching television or being strapped in a stroller.

Do you think this is a good idea? What do you do to make sure your little ones stay active?

You can read more about this in The Healthy Moms Magazine.

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add a little fun to it!  Be silly, have fun and joke around!

 

- Chelmary

 

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We go for walks around our block every eveing when it's cooler.  We bring my iPod so there's kid friendly music & we play "I spy".  the time just flies by!!!  We also go to the local pool & splash & play!!!  Don't forget the sunscreen!!!
My husband and I exercise with him. He gets really excited when we all workout together. Plus it's encouraging to me also. I think that it is important to be a role-model for your children otherwise they will think that they can do the opposite.
I think it's a good habit to start young. Makes it much easier as they get older, if it's already a routine. I have an 8-year-old son who is constantly moving, so I've never had to worry too much. :-)
When my kids were little, I'd put on some music and we would all dance around.  The kids, many times, would run around and do laps around the room.  I also take my kids to parks and playgrounds a lot.  Find a pond, if you don't have one in your neighborhood, park far from it and the kid will be excited to walk to it.  Draw an obstacle course in your driveway or make one around the yard.  Model good fitness behavior.  Take family walks.
We have activities that we do almost daily. Walking, playing in the park, water activities and if we're indoors then we put on some music and dance or dodge ball (that's a favorite)
Like alot of the others, once it cools down in the evening we go on walks and talks and as I call them.  There is NO music but it gives us Family time to talk about things we did that day, or if osmething is bothering someone, tell jokes, and just have fun with it!  We also have a pool and the kids love to ride their bikes.  While none of which are traditional exercises mine are all ADHD and very active so I don't stress it.
We started with dancing to music on the radio or cds. Playing outside on our swingset or at a local park was lots of fun, too.

Can't say we actually do anything specific to promote exercise. With all the active play that my kids do all day, it's not really necessary! These are great ideas, though, I think I'd like to incorporate some of them into our routine. Especially a walk might help to expend that excess energy before bedtime. Thanks!

 

Ilana

Making sure children get enough active time is crucial to thier development, both physically and mentally.   It builds self confidence, motor skills and thinking skills (amazing what kids can buid with rocks, sticks and mud). 

 To keep our son active and eating healthy we try to be positive role models for our son -  sees us exercise and sees how much care and thought we put into the food we eat  (both my husband and I have parents who have eithe rhad strocks or heart attacks so this is important to us).   My husband and I are both runners - so we take runs with our little guy in the stroller - sometimes these will be an hour or so long so we will allow our son to listen to music and we will break it up with long play sessions at the playground.  We have also bought our son a pair of runnig shoes "like daddy" and he will often hop out of the stroller and jog with us.   He is already asking how old he needs to be to run races with mommy and daddy! 

TV time is strictly limited  - he can watch two PBS cartoons - usually Sid the Science and Kid and The Cat in the Hat  - but tv goes off and we go outside!  Rain is a constant here in Seattle  - we put on rain gear and go puddle hunting or take our bikes "splashing".  We make being outside as fun as it can be!  Coming up with differnet ideas can be hard, but it has made us All Healthier and we have tons of fun!

Children want US, their Moms and Dads more than anything else.  If given the chance, they would choose us over a video game. The problem is, we have too much work to do.  So, I had my children with me.  When I went to pull weeds, they went with me.  This is not an efficient way to get the work done, in the short run.  Over the long run, I gave them skills so that as they got older, they lessened my workload.  As we worked I taught them how to identify weeds vs. flowers, where to prune, etc.  Kids love to learn and the love to work and they love to be with us.  WIN all the way around.

Instead of some workout program, the first step is just to get them being active.  Yard work, cooking, cleaning, organizing. This reduced stress in the family because I was getting help.  Getting all this work done created time to go to the beach or the park on Saturday.  

Giving them a "work" mindset rolled over into their play time.  They would build "forts' in the back yard; dug a cave.  They stayed active working on a project when I was busy doing other things.

Auntie Lyn

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