During the summer, when the weather is fine and the days are long, it’s easy to keep your kids active. In fact, it’s often hard to get them back inside for dinner when they are enjoying playing outside. Once the colder months arrive, however, it can be harder to encourage them to keep moving and stay active, so here are some tips and ideas that will help to persuade them that, even in winter, being active can be fun.
Lead by Example
It is well known that children mirror what they see. If they see the adults around them complaining that it’s too cold or too wet to go outside and get some exercise, they will also think that way. Stay positive and show them that you want to go out and enjoy some fresh air by going for a run or encouraging them to come and play outside with you. If they are having fun and spending quality time with you, they will likely not pay attention to the weather and even if it is chilly, being active will soon warm them up.
Don’t let the Weather put you off
If you and your children would normally do activities outside such as sports, games, or cycling, don’t let the cold weather put you off. As long as conditions are safe to do so, keeping a routine is incredibly beneficial physically and mentally.
If there are adverse weather conditions, embrace them! If it is rainy, put on your waterproofs and go puddle jumping! If you are lucky enough to get a good snowfall, put on your layers and go out and play in it; build snowmen, have snowball fights, and go sledding. Children won’t remember how cold it was, but they will remember how much fun they had! Just remember to wrap up well and stay safe.
If you are unable to get outside, get active inside! Many toys and games that encourage physical activity can be used inside, as long as you have enough space. Jump ropes, balls and hula hoops can be used inside, and you can even get indoor sporting equipment to keep you practicing if you can’t attend group training. Indoor pitching mounds take up little space and they’re even portable, so they can be used at home or out and about.
Going for a hike is good for the whole family. You benefit from fresh air and exercise, but there are also many benefits to being in nature. Make it more fun by setting up trails, treasure hunts or seeing who can spot the most of something. You could collect photographs or see if you can spot winter wildlife known to live in the area.
Being active doesn’t necessarily mean sports and traditional ‘active’ games. Anything that gets children off the couch and gets them moving will benefit their health. Games such as charades, Simon Says, or even dancing around to music can count as exercise, as well as being lots of fun and a bonding opportunity.
Ok, so chances are you want your child to spend less time staring at a screen, but if all else fails, they might be encouraged to get active with the aid of computer games that promote physical activity, or even fun activity videos to move along to.
Remember, it is important for children to keep active all year round, perhaps more so during winter, when there are more germs circulating. Keeping fit and healthy keeps the body strong to fight off illness, exposure to even weak sunlight reduces vitamin D deficiency, and being emotionally healthy helps too.