Today’s kids have become an ‘indoor generation’, according to a recent YouGov survey that found the majority of Aussie parents (84%) want their kids to increase their current levels of physical activity and make the most of the great outdoors.
With less than a quarter (22%) of Australian children currently meeting the minimum physical activity recommendations, the question has to be asked — how do we get them outside?
Aussie parents blame smartphones and computers as the main reason kids are staying inside. And the evidence supports this with Australian children spending nearly 15 hours a week in front of a screen.
While some computer games and apps focus on health, screens can become a captor rather than a liberator, with high usage developing into patterns of addictive behaviour. The level of screen time is increasing across Australian families with almost 1 in 3 (30%) parents revealing time spent on screens remains a contentious issue and, in many households, a constant source of arguments.
Even small changes in behaviour can have a big impact on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing, so why not try:
Taking life outside
A walk in the park can increase concentration levels and reduce challenging behaviours. You can also take advantage of longer, warmer evenings and enjoy a stroll after dinner.
Building basic bedrooms
Your kids may think it harsh, but make bedrooms a device-free zone. Remove all gadgets from bedrooms, keeping it dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
Joining the community
Activity groups and/or sports teams in the local area not only increase physical activity but give kids a sense of belonging. Training sessions and game-day means guaranteed outdoor time each week too.
Getting the kids involved in a new activity can help build self-confidence; the Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon
is a non-competitive event where kids can get fit and active while having fun with their friends. With locations around the country, any child between 7-15 years can participate.
A twist on transport
Wherever possible, add walking as a means of transport or even ride a scooter to school (or to the shops) as part of your daily routine. If you must drive, park a block away for more incidental movement.