5 Ways to Keep Your Children Active during the School Year
By Eileen Johnson
Summer is an easy time to fit exercise into a child’s day. They more naturally fill their summer hours with playing outside, swimming, biking, skateboarding, and sports. During the school year, studies and extra-curricular activities keep them busy and the cold winter weather makes it less appealing to go outside. At the same time, studies are showing a strong correlation between activity and academic achievement in our children and adolescents. .http://saferoutespartnership.org/resourcecenter/research/the-relationship-between-physical-activity-weight-and-academic-achievement
I dedicate this article to my grandfather who, well into his 70’s, would invite neighbor kids over to jump rope in the yard and see who could jump the most, the fastest, the fanciest, etc. The kids loved it, and it brought the community together to feel more like a family.
Consider these ideas for keeping your kids active during the school year:
- Find out how often your child is offered exercise breaks at school. The best place to start a discussion with your school is at a PTO meeting.
- Physical education classes
- Brain Breaks! Let’s have fun and give that brain a needed break. Here is a site with fabulous ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/ksmurphy/school-brain-breaks/
- JAM (Just A Minute) these are quick ways to re-engage the brain! http://www.healthetips.com/jam-program.php
- Safe routes to school program
- “In July 2005, Congress passed federal legislation that established a National Safe Routes to School program to improve safety on walking and bicycling routes to school and to encourage children and families to travel between home and school using these modes”. Read more at: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/mission-and-history
- Walking school bus or a bicycle train. This is a great way to establish a safe way for kids to walk or bike to school and for neighbors to get to know each other better.
- Start a walking club at school or at home. The afterschool walking club at my school was a way to increase physical activity and give the kids a chance to socialize in a positive, non-competitive way after school.
- Some children naturally enjoy being active and some need more encouragement and direction in figuring out how to stay active. You are the first role model they have and children often enjoy being active with their families. Here are some ideas from Dr. Jeanine Kies, a family physician in Wisconsin:
- Walk, run, or bike together
- Play kickball or throw a Frisbee
- Try out yoga together. DVD’s from the library or even X-Box, Playstation or Wii can be used to guide your sessions.
- Start some active and fun games for younger siblings who are getting bored when attending older siblings’ sporting events.
- For more of her ideas check out this website: http://www.deancare.com/wellness/mom/advice/finding-balance-keeping-kids-active-during-the-school-year/