Between the demands of work and parenthood, finding time to raise healthy, active kids can seem like a challenge. But according to Dr. Pat Vehrs, exercise physiologist and director of the Texas Children's Hospital Wellness Center in Houston, encouraging activity in kids is not so much a matter of time, but a matter of commitment.
Parents who are trying to instill healthy, active lifestyles for their kids need to be committed to that idea, he said. It only takes about 30 to 40 minutes a day for parents to encourage physical activity in their kids. As a guideline, kids should be physically active as a part of school, play and chores at least five days a week, said Vehrs. For busy parents who are attempting to follow these guidelines, Vehrs offers the following tips:
+ Provide resources. Kids have a large amount of energy. Parents may be surprised to see how physically active their kids become if they are given a ball, skates or a bike. Even a toy as simple and inexpensive as a flying disc will inspire kids to be active.
+ Foster non-competitive attitudes. Physical activity need not always be competitive. Parents should encourage recreational sports such as karate, dance, swimming or gymnastics, while emphasizing fun over competition.
+ And finally, Vehrs said, the best way for parents to promote activity in their children is to get involved.