A how-to Guide to Keeping your Kids Active During the School Year
All parents want their kids to happy, healthy and active, especially during busy times like the school year. But we know that keeping them active can be difficult.
At school, they could be sitting at a desk for most of the day, followed by busy evenings and homework to complete, makes finding time for physical activity a challenge.
Not to mention kids’ love of gaming!
But at Intersport Elverys we believe that nothing beats play time outdoors and in this blog we’re going to share some practical tips on how to ensure you are keeping your kids active this year.
Challenges of Keeping Kids Active During the School Year
Life is busy for parents and there are so many distractions for kids these days too.
We all struggle to keep as active as we should be for the same reasons.
A survey conducted by the Irish Heart Foundation in 2020 found that four out of five kids are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity they need per-day, with factors such as lack of time and access to facilities as a barrier.
We’re not here to point out what you are doing wrong either by the way, just to inform you of the reasons why it might be happening.
Here some of the most common.
Finding time for physical activity can be challenging with school, extracurricular activities, and homework.
Particularly when the evenings get shorter and the window to get outside decreases.
Here are some tips on how you can better balance school and sports.
It’s Ireland, after all!
It would be a great little country if only we could roof it, but unfortunately we can’t.
The weather is unpredictable and that makes outdoor activities difficult and hard to plan.
With so many digital gadgets and displays available, youngsters may be more prone to spending their leisure time on their devices rather than engaging in physical activity.
Trying to get them off their screen often leads to arguments and tantrums and we all want to avoid that too.
After a long day at school, children may be exhausted and unmotivated to engage in physical activity.
Parents can be the same with work.
Depending on where you reside, you may not have easy access to sports facilities or children’s programs.
If you’re living in a rural area, transport may be an issue. Or if you’re urban, there might not be sufficient space for your kids.
Each pose their own difficulties.
These challenges make it hard for parents trying so hard in keeping their kids active. But with some creative thinking and planning, it is possible to overcome it.
Tips and Tricks in Keeping your kids Active
Being creative and being prepared are great ways to ensure you are keeping your kids active this summer and during the school year.
Thankfully, Ireland has an abundance of hidden gems and ideas.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Watersports Blog for an idea of some of our best water sport resources across the country.
Or below are some other ideas to consider.
Schedule Activity Time
Schedule time for physical activity just as you do for academics and extracurricular activities.
This might be anything as simple as a family walk after dinner or a dance party before night.
Here are some fun activities that you can do to make going back to school fun.
Make it Fun!
Children are more likely to participate in physical activity if it is enjoyable.
Consider swimming, biking, or even taking dancing classes.
SUP Boarding is all the new trend too – check out our Guide to SUP Boards in Ireland.
Embrace the Outdoors
Ireland has some of the most beautiful nature in the whole world!
And we don’t say that lightly.
Despite the fact that the weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, there are several options for outdoor physical activity.
Try hiking, playing soccer, or even taking a walk at a nearby park.
This blog on the Best Trail Runs in Ireland will show you where some of these beautiful nature walks can be done.
Ways to Encourage a healthy lifestyle
As well as coming up with ways to keep your kids active, it’s equally important to encourage a healthy lifestyle too.
Sport is a great way of doing that, and our blog on the Health Benefits of Sports for Kids will share more on the how and why.
Lead the way with healthy habits
Healthy habits should be modelled for children, so make sure you’re adopting healthy habits yourself.
This could involve eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.
Limit Screen Time
While screens may be a tremendous source of entertainment and education, they should be used in moderation.
Encourage your youngster to participate in other activities such as reading, playing outside, or socialising with friends.
Make healthy choices simple
Make sure your youngster has easy access to water and healthy snacks.
Packing nutritious lunches and snacks for school can help ensure your child gets the nourishment they require.
Often, access to healthy foods can hard to get, so if you make this available at all times, it’s amazing the impact it can have.
You can help your child stay active, healthy, and happy throughout the school year by taking a holistic approach to their health and well-being.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
While encouraging your child to be active is crucial, it is equally important to set reasonable goals and expectations.
Don’t expect your youngster to become a superstar athlete overnight.
Instead, concentrate on establishing attainable goals that will help you gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
This could be striving for 30 minutes of physical activity every day or practicing a specific skill, such as basketball dribbling or bike riding.
Celebrate your child’s accomplishments, no matter how minor, and view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that parents help their kids set “SMART” goals – goals that are:
For example, instead of saying ‘I want to get in shape’, a SMART goal might be ‘I want to run a 5K in 3 months’.
Give your kids plenty of options and support
There are numerous tools and support systems available to assist kids in remaining active during the school year and summer.
Encourage your child to join sports teams or after-school activities that are related to their interests.
There is a GAA club in nearly every parish in Ireland, or why not consider rugby, soccer or athletics.
You can ever consider youth gym classes or youth programs. Make exercise a family event by going for walks or bike rides together.
You can also assist your child in tracking their progress and remaining motivated by providing them with a fitness tracker or app that allows them to establish and track objectives.
It is critical to remember that physical activity does not need to be structured or formal in order to be effective.
Encourage your child to participate in active play with their buddies, such as tag, kicking a ball around, jumping rope or a game of frisbee.
The goal is to choose activities that your child will enjoy and that will work with their schedule and lifestyle.
Sport and play time can be so much fun for your kids and has so many benefits.
By knowing the challenges and acknowledging them, you can help your kids develop lifelong healthy habits.
And you might even enjoy and develop a better lifestyle yourself.
We’re here to help you on every step of the way too, so check out our amazing kids category below.