Summer Family Playtime is Key
by Rochelle Griffin
School is out now. We’re gonna have some fun. We’re gonna make like we are the only ones… ~Cat Stevens “School is Out” lyrics.
Summer is just around the corner, and our children are finishing up the school year. The three-months that lay ahead are full of possibilities. Imagine how much fun and adventure that can be had.
Do you remember being a kid on summer break? I do. Ummmm…what was Internet? (Yes, I’m dating myself. ☺) I specifically remember that it was always light outside after dinner and my brother and I would go out to play. All the neighborhood kids would get together to ride bikes or play kickball or swim at the community pool. We hated when nightfall came and we had to go home. We were all so carefree.
We live in a very different time now.
Today we live in a culture where parents are afraid to let their children out of their sight because of crime…a culture where children spend hours at a time indoors watching TV or playing video games.
Sadly this culture is taking its toll on our young ones.
Let’s look at some sobering statistics and information (even if statistic bore you to tears, you need to read this for YOUR children!)
- Our children’s generation will be the FIRST in history to have a shorter life expectancy than the parents.
- In America, 18% of children are currently obese with >30% body fat.
- Physicians are finding that obese children have metabolic characteristics, including abnormal cholesterol and high blood sugar, equivalent to what was seen in the past in obese 25 year olds.
- Type 2 diabetes is no longer uncommon in 10-12 year olds.
- Having a TV in the bedroom has been associated with childhood obesity.
- Overweight & obese children are at a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and even chronic liver disease.
As parents, WHAT can we do? There are two major components here: nutrition and fitness. Today we will look at fitness. Odds are that sedentary children have sedentary parents. If we educate parents, it’s not only good for the children…it’s good for the entire family. We need to get everyone moving and summer is the perfect time to start!
Do something as a family and get off the couch. Just last night, my husband, son, and I along with our three dogs were in the backyard kicking a soccer ball around. It was a blast, was quality family time, and it tired everyone out before bed…including the dogs. Not up to running around? No problem…WALK. We often go blackberry picking as a family. Just DO something. Move! Set the example.
Play with your kids. Enjoy a game of hide and go seek. Throw a Frisbee. Ride a bike. Swim. Climb a tree…I dare you. Trust me, your child will think you are the coolest parent around.
Raining outside? Too hot? (We live in FL so I “get” the too hot thing.) Fine. Play an “active” video game as a family. Better yet, throw in a fitness DVD such as Tony & The Kids and do it together. I’ve done Tony & The Kids several times with my son. He loves it and I even break a sweat. Win-win.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children NEED an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every single day. In today’s society, they often gravitate more to the TV and video games. As parents, we are responsible for our children’s health. We must take a stand.
This isn’t difficult to achieve. I bet if you sit down with your children tonight and tell them that you want to plan some fun activities as a family, you will see huge smiles break out. Isn’t that what life is all about? And who knows, while having fun, you may get into better shape yourself and remember what it was like to be a kid again.
I’d love to hear how you plan to incorporate physical activity into your family this summer. Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for ways to have fun with my son!
A Toast to Your Health,
Rochelle Griffin is Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience who has transitioned her love for fitness, health, & freedom into a 6-figure company that now helps others live the life of their dreams.
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