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How To Raise Active Kids

Mar 13, 2008
No one likes to see a fat child. We automatically assume that they are spending all their free time in front of the TV with a box of Twinkies and sodas. Unfortunately, fat kids are a fact of life in America today; and if you don't want your own kids to join this growing population, it's necessary to take steps that will ensure that they are healthy, active, fit kids who can do anything.

Take Baby Steps

If you have a baby at home, chances are you aren't trying to get them to practice their swing or catching abilities. You can, however, give them plenty of opportunities to exercise. For the very small, "tummy time" is an effective and appropriate form of exercise. Spending time lying on their tummies is important - it helps the little dears strengthen their neck muscles so they can support those heads.

For older babies, giving them opportunities to stand at the furniture, bounce in a bouncy seat or even time to roll around on the floor will help to ensure that they are fit. Toddlers and young preschoolers can (once they've learned to walk and run) and will run everywhere they go, and handing them a ball or soft toy to carry with them will help improve their coordination.

School Days

When the kids have reached about 4 years of age, they can begin to participate in more structured physical activities. Sign them up for trial classes in different activities like swimming or gymnastics to see what types of exercise appeals to them most. If you start kids early enough, exercising will always seem to be a pleasure and something fun that they want to do. Finding the right fit may be a challenge, but it can be done. What's more, it will never seem like "exercise" which is, for many of us a dirty word.

Extracurricular Sports

Once you and your child have found a sport or two that is of interest, sign him or her up for a season of play. Many sports transition well for kids - soccer, touch football, baseball and softball come to mind right away. Kids can even play basketball; adjustable baskets make it easy for the smallest athlete to achieve success on the court.

Practice WITH your child at his or her chosen sport. Getting mom and dad in on the play helps your child's performance and won't hurt mom and dad, either.

Attend practices (if feasible...some coaches like for parents to keep at a distance), scrimmages and games. Show your support by being there to cheer for your child and the team. This impresses the importance of exercise on your child, and since these little tykes live (for awhile, at any rate) to please us, they'll lap it up and keep playing.

Be positive. When it occurs that they don't win the game, reassure your child. He or she has done their best, and if not, they'll do better next time. The point is not to win or lose, but to play, have fun, and be fit.
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