Getting active with your child

It’s an old cliché: you are your child’s first teacher. And that even extends into how active your child is. If you want your child to be more active, you have to be more active too

One of the biggest factors in the rise of child obesity is lack of exercise – kids want to spend all day in front of their computer or TV, and it means they’re not getting the recommended amount of physical activity.

Studies suggest that the more active you are, from pregnancy onwards, the more active your child will be – something that's especially important for teenage girls, who tend to do less exercise than boys their age.

It makes perfect sense too – after all, your child isn’t going to listen to you expound on the joys of exercise if you don’t practise what you preach!

Making it work

Aim it at young and old Choose activities like swimming and cycling that will appeal to both you and your child and that you can both enjoy regardless of your age, abilities and fitness level. Sit down with your child and hammer out a list of different fitness activities you can do together.

Keep it convenient Anything that involves too much effort or synchronising watches will fall by the wayside. Aim to get active together for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time at least three days a week – definitely do-able!

Don’t bust the budget You don’t have to spend a fortune to stay fit and active together. Expensive gyms aren’t any better than the monkey bars at the local playground!

Make it fun Doing the same thing day in day out will just send your bored child back to the TV, so vary it: rollerblade one day, play football the next; bowl one day and bike the next… you get the picture!

Head to the park For a game of frisbee or tag, a nature walk or a session on the monkey bars together.

Walk indoors if it’s wet Don't skip your walk just because of bad weather – if you can't face wrapping up in waterproofs for a bracing walk in the rain, why not walk around the local mall or head for a museum or art gallery.

Hit the pool Swimming is a great workout and you can increase the fun factor by racing, or playing underwater tag or water volleyball. Plan out a family aqua-robics routine you can all do too.

Plan an indoor play place Designate a room in your home where rolling, climbing, jumping, and tumbling are allowed. Scatter throw cushions around and lay blankets on the floor for kids to wriggle under; and what about suspending a large pillow from the ceiling to form a soft punchbag?

Get out in the garden Rake leaves and then jump in them; shovel snow; give your child his own patch of garden to dig up and plant with seeds.

Winter workout If you have the weather for it, go cross-country skiing or ice skating.

Near the coast? Wading through knee-deep seawater is a great exercise, or jog along the beach.

Go fly a kite Don’t waste that windy day – kite flying is really enjoyable for the whole family.

Bike and hike Track down local nature trails where you can go for a bike ride or hike.

Hit the links Buy some kid-sized golf clubs and play a round together or practise your swing at the driving range.

Going batty Play netless badminton – you both have to keep the shuttlecock from hitting the ground!

Go retro Dust out that skipping rope, have a game of hopscotch or do some hoola hooping – it’s making a comeback and you can even get weighted hoops to increase the effort factor!

Wash the car Yes it can be fun… especially if your child has to play dodge the hosepipe when you’re rinsing off the suds!


How do you and your family like to get active together? Come and let us know on the Supernanny Facebook page

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Play Doh Recipe: Play doh is still one of the easiest (and cheapest!) activities you can share with your child. This recipe takes five minutes, and you can store the play doh to re-use later.

Going green - how your family can help the planet: Worried about the planet your kids are going to inherit? Then do something about it! A whopping 85% of all the waste we produce each week is recyclable – and if you can get your family thinking that it’s easy being green, it’s a step in the right direction that’ll give your children the chance to set things right in years to come.

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