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Promoting physical activity for children

Increasing the time spent in physical activity can be difficult but adults hold the key to making a difference.

There are many reasons why it may be difficult to increase the time a child spends in physical activity. For example, lack of space, lack of equipment, weather, safety concerns, lack of time, long working hours, self-confidence, previous experience with physical activity as a child, and lack of knowledge about ways to make physical activity fun, exciting and engaging. Nevertheless, there are things that we can all do to make a difference in the physical activity levels of the young children in our lives.

For children aged from birth to five, adults hold the key to children participating in recommended levels of physical activity and enjoying this experience. Adults make decisions every day about what type of activities children participate in and whether or not these activities will offer opportunity to participate in different types and intensities of physical activity. Thinking outside the box a little can result in wonderful, engaging and significant learning physical activity experiences. Here are some key things that adults can do to encourage children to be physically active.

Top 5 tips for helping children spend more time in physical activity

Be a role model

Adults showing children how much they enjoy being active can really increase children’s activity levels and their desire to be active.

Be a planner

Adults can set aside time every day for physical activity. If you are a parent or caregiver, this could include playing in the garden, a bike ride or bush walk or walking instead of using the car. If you are an early childhood educator, then plan for structured and unstructured physical activity opportunities in your daily routine.

Be supportive

Encouraging children to be active and praising them when they are active will go a long way. Children love to hear positive comments.

Be an active adult

It may be hard to fit activity into your own routine but being active as an adult is also important and will set a good role model for children in your care.

Be confident

Don’t let your own confidence levels get in the way. The most important thing is that children see you having a go!

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This article is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong