It’s an annual challenge that parents face this time of year. Experts recommend that all children get at least between 30 and 60 minutes of some type of daily physical activity, but how do you accomplish that with colder weather and shorter days? And of course, most kids don’t have homework to do in summer months either.
Here are some things to consider to keep your children movin’.
Outdoor Layering & Covering — Except in extremely cold weather, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging children to play outside. The key is to dress kids in layers and make sure extremities get covered with gloves, hats, scarves, and boots in snowy weather. If your children enjoy playing in nearby parks, athletic fields or basketball courts during the rest of the year, there’s no reason they can’t do so in winter months.
Watch Closely! — However, it’s a good idea to keep a closer outdoor eye on children this time of year — especially preschoolers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, young children are more quickly affected by cold weather. Don’t forget about sunscreen or hydration — they’re important all the time! If there’s been snow or rain recently, that makes supervision more critical. Don’t allow your kids to stay outdoors in damp clothing, where possibilities of frostbite and hypothermia are greater.
Take The Lead — When your schedule allows, participate in outdoor fun with your children. Outdoor walks or hikes, building snowmen, sledding, can all be a great opportunity to build family memories and have supervised outdoor activities. It can be easier to encourage kids to play outside when they see their parents doing so too!
Keep Indoor Activities Fresh — Understand that more indoor activity is inevitable this time of year and plan accordingly. Even though kids flourish more when they decide how they’re going to play, look for ways to encourage a variety of activities. Clear some space in your house and encourage some physical activity like jumping rope or tumbling. For older kids, consider introducing some weight lifting or exercise equipment. For little ones, participate in games and activities that encourage physical movement.
Whether it means signing up for indoor swimming lessons, increased visits to local fitness centers or encouraging outdoor play time, don’t let the cold weather sideline your kids.