Monday 20 July 2020

How to encourage kids to be active as lockdown eases

2020 the year we stayed home, stayed safe
This year has been difficult and strange. 2020 is already a very memorable year, the year that we went into lockdown. Covid-19 has changed our normal daily lives and even as we ease out of lockdown life is not as we know it, we are now facing a ‘new normal’.

As a parent of three children I have experienced first hand how lockdown has impacted on our children’s lives. With the coronavirus pandemic triggering lockdown we had to close our doors to the outside world and live life in our little family bubble at home. 

The change in our daily life; not going to school, seeing friends and having adventures outdoors - was a big deal for the kids. They were upset about having birthday parties cancelled, having to learn at home with mum as their not very good teacher and not being able to roam free in the great outdoors that they love.

We have strived to support, care and love them during these unprecedented times, making sure our children’s emotional and mental health is supported during the coronavirus pandemic

Whilst technology has been a big part of the kids’ lives during the past few months - gaming, connecting with loved ones and YouTube we have tried to fill our home with fun and quality family time away from screens. Cakes and cookies have been baked, rainbows have been painted, the trampoline has been bounced on, obstacle courses have decorated the garden and laughs have been had as the kids play with friends on games online.

One thing we have noticed is how being physically active has positively helped their mental health. During lockdown the kids kept active by doing P.E. lessons with Joe Wicks The Body Coach, done cosmic yoga, bounced on the trampoline in the garden and raced around obstacle courses as if we were doing S.A.S. training.

As we saw the positive benefits of keeping moving during lockdown we want to make sure that they keep active as lockdown eases and our routine changes yet again especially as the NHS recommends that children and young people should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day across the week.

Ways to get kids moving post lockdown
Here are 5 ways to make sure the kids keep moving and benefiting from physical activity as we move into a new life out of lockdown.

1. Get a kids fitness tracker
Smart watches for kids are a great way to encourage children to be more active. Activity trackers for kids can show in clear information how much they have moved such as the number of steps which can motivate them to move more. Plus many fitness watches for kids are designed with challenges and rewards which helps make getting active fun for kids. They also give parents a good indication of how much exercise and activity their child is getting each day.

2. Active travel
As there were travel restrictions during lockdown and the streets were car-free, many families across the country hopped back on their bikes for their daily allowance of physical activity. Now that travel restrictions have eased there is no need to always get back into the car. Keep the good habits of family bike rides, scooting and walks going as they are not only a fantastic way to keep active with the kids but also are a great way to bond with your loved ones and appreciate your local area.

3. Keep active at home
Why let lockdown ending stop you from keeping active at home? Thanks to a boom in exercise videos and resources for kids being available online there is a wealth of information and inspiration available to exercise at home. Some fun ways to keep moving at home whilst having lots of fun as a family is make obstacle courses, have a disco and dance like nobody's watching, have a water bomb race or enjoy a balloon competition to see who can keep it off the floor for the longest. New toys that encourage physical activity such as the Mega Jump Rope or Boomba from Wicked toys help inspire activity at home and outdoors.

4. Join in with the physical fun
As parents became teachers and had to entertain the kids 24/7 for weeks on end, many parents joined their kids during physical fun. P.E. with Joe Wicks became a family affair with parents trying to keep up with the class along with their kids. Lockdown ending shouldn’t mean the end of family exercise as not only are you getting fitter and healthier together but it is also fun, a boost for everyone’s mental and emotional wellbeing but also a great way to bond as a family. Plus an adult being active is a good role model and positive force on children’s health.

5. Connect with community activity
As lockdown restrictions change some community activity groups are creating and supporting physical activity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines. Many groups cater for sports and physical activities with kids that are a fantastic way to keep kids active. Plus many local councils have set up play and active sessions for children to access during the summer holidays so that children can enjoy and benefit from physical activities that they missed during lockdown as well as socialise with peers in a safe way.

How are you making sure the kids keep active post lockdown?

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