All kids will be healthy if Fit2Finish has its way and they’ll have fun doing it. It shouldn’t be a chore or a ‘work’out. We believe in fitness that’s fun for every body, even for elite athletes with performance on their minds. This fall F2F has been on the field with kids from the Vienna Youth Soccer program. All ages. All stages. The youngest is 6 and in first grade. The oldest are playing on very competitive middle and high school travel soccer squads. Fitness has been fun for all of them.
And you know what that means…yes, these kids are in better shape to take the field. But also their hearts, lungs, muscles and minds are stronger. We know that long term fitness will help these kids avoid illness and lead healthier, more energetic lives. They’ll be more capable at school and have fewer sick days. Statistically, they’ll even make better decisions about their health and well-being. Hey! Fitness is almost like giving them a guardian angel on their shoulder.
So, is your child active enough? Physical educators say kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. They may or may not be getting this at school or even in an after school SACC or sports program. So if you’re a parent with kids who hit the tv, computer or handheld screens the minute they get off the bus be sure to help them choose fun physical activities at home.
But how can we compete with the screens? you ask.
Check out this website called Games Kids play for over a hundred game ideas for elementary aged kids. 50 kinds of tag. relays. backyard games. big group and small group activities. Put the kids in charge of picking what they’ll play, and help them rally the neighborhood crew to get things moving. Be sure they have access to some open space and simple equipment where they can easily get at it. (and put it away!) I recommend the basics: balls, cones, jump ropes, hula hoops or rings, sidewalk chalk, frisbees. Comment on the blog to tell us what games they come up with so we can all be playing them.
But, wait…How do you get the older kids motivated? You know your own kid. Get to know their friends. Then ask them…
- do they like competition? form teams. Have an objective. It doesn’t have to be expensive. The winners get to keep the stuffed mascot until next game. Or they get to choose the next game.
- do they prefer just a few friends. then form a club that connects on the move.
- do they like alone time? perhaps a reflective walk or run is just what they need.
- do they clamor for your time as a parent? then give it to them, in the form of something active you do together. Especially with teens, it’s the together-time that allows the best connecting, but on their terms. (Think 1 v 1 rather than sit down at the table)
If you think this is all child’s play, you’re wrong. Check out the National Football League’s Play 60. You’ll find games and contests and ideas straight from the pro’s about getting kids active for 60 minutes a day. You can even sign up to bring a Play 60 program to the kids in your school or your community.
Fit2Finish wants to keep up the momentum. But adults, we need to lead the way. As James Baldwin reminds us,
“children have never been very good as listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
As adults who know the importance of healthy bodies we need to show the kids in our families, neighborhoods and schools how that can be lived out. Just preaching it to them will never work. Healthy, fun-loving adults are magnets for kids. We’ve got to model the fun and teach them how to make fitness a way of life. Bodies that work well are way more fun at every age, and fitness is way more fun with friends.