Now that the kids have broken up for summer and many of their favourite after school clubs have also shut up shop until September, parents can find it a challenge keeping their children active during the summer months. That is especially true with the popularity of and accessibility to video games, with kids able to play online with their friends from the comfort of their own bedroom.
There isn’t anything wrong with that, if children balance video games with physical exercise (as well as socialising face to face with other children). As per NHS guidelines, children aged between five and 18 years of age need 60 minutes of exercise per day, which should be easily attained through active play.
According to government figures, less than a quarter of children (23% boys and 20% girls) are getting the recommended daily amount of exercise. Added to the fact that the rate of childhood obesity is on the rise in the UK, it is obvious that parents have to take action to ensure that their children are getting the exercise they need.
Not all children are fans of sports, and that’s fine. However, they do not necessarily have to be the biggest sports fan in the world to enjoy attending a sports club run by coaches that make for a fun and welcoming atmosphere for children of all abilities. Depending on the age and how serious the sessions are, development is secondary to fun and children will play lots of mini games.
As well as exercising and having fun, clubs are a great way for children to meet and make new friends outside of their usual circle. Depending on the area in which you live, this could be a good way for children to meet other kids from different backgrounds. For example, those that attend Playball Clapham sessions regularly play alongside children of all ethnicities.
Running Around with Mum and Dad
It isn’t just siblings and friends that children love running around with as they look forward to getting mum and dad involved, too! Parents playing with children is of course not only good for ensuring they get the exercise they need, but it also makes for a great way of getting the exercise that you need.
If you think that a personal trainer will give you the run-around, you should try keeping up with a five-year-old at the play park – then you will know the true meaning of tiredness! In all seriousness, though, parents that regularly play with their children do build fantastic bonds which makes for a healthy relationship between parent and child.
In the summer, when the weather is warm, it presents the opportunity to whisk the children off to the beach where they can run around on the beach, as well as indulging in ice cream. Make sure to pack plenty of sun cream, though, as it doesn’t take long for the sun to burn little children’s skin which, as you already know, can increase the risk of skin cancer amongst other conditions.
While it may be the fashion for children to sit inside and play on their numerous devices, installing a rule where children cannot use the internet/play video games during set hours is a fantastic way of getting them active. Encourage them to play outside, whether that be in the garden or with friends, as opposed to sitting indoors.
If they sit inside all day they are not getting the amount of Vitamin D that they need in order to build strong bones. Children older than a year old should receive between 600 and 1,000 IU daily, with babies younger than one year needing at least 400 IU per day.
Of course, if a particularly hot heatwave has set in with temperatures far above the norm then it may be best to keep the children inside as opposed to running around expending energy. This can result in heat stroke, dehydration and exhaustion amongst others.