What is an appropriate physical activity for your child? How do you choose?
As the new school year approaches it brings with it a busy and more structured schedule for your child. This is a good time to begin to think about different physical activities in which they can participate.
There are various activities that your child can choose. These activities can help prevent unhealthy habits that may form once the responsibilities of school are present. Activities can range from organized sports to free-style play. Free play can be a great form of exercise, contributing to the development of motor skills. It can also serve as a great outlet for your child’s energy. As a parent, you can have equipment available for them to choose from to facilitate active play. Bu the child should ultimately be the one to decide how he/she will be active. In this way your child will enjoy the activity and be more likely to continue participation. Also, keeping options open for your child and allowing them to dabble in multiple sports will help them to develop a wide variety of physical skills and more importantly, they’ll want to keep moving.
There are also lifetime sports that children can develop a love for and continue doing throughout their lifetime. If you can get your child interested in an activity like this when they are young, exercise and fitness are more likely to become a habit that lasts for years to come. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that physical education programs in schools emphasize lifetime sports (as well as activities that are not just for the best athletes). These lifetime sports include:
- Swimming, Skating—In-line and Ice, Golf, Bowling, Bicycling, Tennis, Skiing, Jogging, Walking, and Martial arts
Keep in mind when choosing an activity for your child that:
- Anything that involves movement qualifies as physical activity.
- While many children love being active with other kids, some overweight children feel self-conscious about participating in group sports. They may be more inclined to choose an activity that they can do on their own. Another approach could be to plan physical activities with a close friend or sibling with whom they feel comfortable.
- Above all, the activity must be fun, and your child should be successful at it.