For Parents

Are your kids overly tired or sluggish? Do they seem irritable or moody?  Are they stuck in front of the television, or in front of the computer/gaming system? Are they having trouble in school?

There may be an answer – they need to get moving. Even if your kids seem perfectly healthy now, a lack of regular physical activity will have a negative impact their body, mind and development (Jensen, 2005).

On the other hand, increased physical activity and movement promotes healthy brain development, assists in learning and memory and is proven to increase academic success (Jensen, 2005)!

“The beneficial effects of exercise on learning are well-documented. Physical activity promotes biological changes in the brain that enhance adaptability and connections between brain cells; this brain activity is necessary for learning as well as for the growth of new brain cells (Ratey 2008)” (Reilly, Buskist, and Gross, 2012).

Experts are saying that parents affect the level of physical activity that their child engages in. “Lack of peer and parental support for physical activity can also pose a significant barrier (Bauer et al. 2004; Mabry et al. 2003; Taylor et al. 1999). Parents have described lack of time or motivation to exercise with their children (Gordon-Larsen et al. 2004; Harrison et al. 2005; Hesketh et al. 2005)” (Ying-Ying GohBogart, 2009).

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by texturl

Don’t worry, you can help! Here are a few suggestions to help get your kids moving:

  • Find a sport or physical activity you can do together, maybe it’s throwing a baseball, or going for a walk, you will reap the benefits of movement while getting banking some quality time!
  • Ask your kids to help you with physical errands such as bringing in the groceries, clearing out the storage room or weeding the garden; you will get some much needed help while your kid/s get much needed exercise!
  • Talk to your child’s teachers about incorporating physical activity and movement into classroom activities, you can direct them to the teacher page on this blog!
  • Be a role-model, your kids will learn from what you choose to do in your spare time
  • Have contests, see who can put all the toys back in the basket the fastest
  • Create a family dance, perform this serious or silly dance on birthdays, and other special events
  • Talk to your child’s friend’s parents, if their friends are signing up for the soccer team, it is more likely that they will
  • Limit your child’s television and gaming time, just make sure you have some good suggestions on what they should replace it with!

Check out these websites for useful information, tips and more!

References

Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind. (2nd edition). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reilly, E., Buskist, C., & Gross, M. K. (2012). Movement in the Classroom: Boosting Brain Power, Fighting Obesity. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(2), 62-66. doi:10.1080/00228958.2012.680365.

Ying-Ying GohBogart, L. (2009). Using community-based participatory research to identify potential interventions to overcome barriers to adolescents’ healthy eating and physical activity. Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 32(5), 491-502.

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