Obesity, being overweight, type 2 diabetes, almost no or no interest in sports or physical activity whatsoever. These are just a few challenges the kids and youth of today’s generation are faced with.Overweight and obese kids are suffering not just when it comes to their health but their self confidence takes quite a hit too.
Statistic says it loud and clear. Obesity in children in the United States alone had more than tripled since the 1970s. That is scary. And dangerous. Not just for the kids but their parents alike.
Kids whose BMI (Body Mass Index) is at or above 85 percent but lower than 95 percent are considered overweight.
Those above 95 percent have obesity.
We like to move it, move it
We know all too well that all of the above is not just scary but life threatening if left untreated. Another thing we know all too well is that the the only long term solution to fight this civilization disease is to move. And eat healthy. But first and above all to move.
Human body was designed to move and be active no matter what its age. Exercise helps not just with mental wellbeing but helps small children grow healthy and strong. Besides that it helps and teaches them to be able to better overcome physical and emotional challenges. Physical activity also teaches and develops their endurance, strength and flexibility.
Positive role models and healthy competition
There is nothing worse than having to force someone to do something they don’t want to do. This is especially true when it comes to kids.
“The best thing is, if kids choose which sport would they like to devote their time to themselves”, says nutritional expert and a keen sportswoman Tina Zlatoš Turner.
Ideal situation is, when the whole family likes and practises sport regularly. Include even grandparents if you like. Do whatever it takes to lead by example and motivate kids and grandkids to develop a healthy and loving relationship with sport. Not only for a portion of their lives for the whole one.
Kids tend to copy the behaviour of adults and what they see at home. If they see their parents practise sports, it will become normal for them too. Sport will become a natural part of their day rather than a forced one.
When to start moving?
The opinions tend to differ but according to this clinic the general rule is that you can start getting your kids to move from as early as 2 years old. The best way is general free play at this early age but you can also try swimming.
Older kids, so somewhere around the ages 6 to 9 year olds are getting better at paying attention and are able to follow direction so team sports such as tennis, soccer, and even martial arts are a good way to go. It also teaches them teamwork.
10 to 12 year olds are already smart enough to understand strategy of certain sports with complex rules (football, hockey, basketball) and are ready to take on a challenge.
What if you see that your child is really quite good at something and you feel they should take it up a notch and start pursuing a career out of it?
There are 3 ways:
- Do not pressure them, motivate them.
- Let them play and encourage them to self reflect afterwards on what can be done better.
- Do not criticize them. Kids are the best judges for themselves and they are very aware of their every failure. So do not remind them of it again.
If you’ve reached a point, when your child practises sport regularly and likes it, you need to do all it takes to keep that fire burning brightly. That can be done in multiple and very simple ways. One of the easiest and least time consuming way is to create a competition between siblings. Get them to run a race or do a rope skipping challenge. Use whatever sport your kids already like doing and make it fun with some healthy competition and a cool reward (who doesn’t like a good amusement park or a trip to the movies, right?).
However, kids are creative creatures who constantly and without much warning change opinions. Not just when it comes to free time activities. It is perfectly normal they will be all of a sudden super excited by basketball and next thing you know if will be athletics.
They want to try and experience everything so that they can decide for themselves, which will be the winner.
We at Benjamin have been thinking of ways to help parents excite and motivate their kids for the lifelong love of sport. We have been toying with the idea of adding a “fit lock” function. If your child does some kind of physical activity and is wearing Benjamin on them at the time, this function will then ‘reward’ them by unlocking the PC or a tablet for thems.
How is that for exchanging screen time for sport time? We call it a win-win!