Helping children form healthy habits early in life can provide lifelong benefits. Physical activity encourages strong bones and muscles, cardiovascular health, improved coordination, better sleep, happiness and confidence in children. Now is the time to get the little ones off the couch, away from the t.v and living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Tips for parents

Lead by example

Children emulate their parents. Mums and dads who set an example for their children by leading active lifestyles themselves will automatically encourage their children to do the same. Same goes for modeling behaviours inside the house. How may hours do you spend in front of the T.V or sitting around on the couch? It is your responsibility to demonstrate the importance of healthy diet and exercise.

Give your child options

All children are different. Some children will relish group sports, others will enjoy walking the dog whilst some kids would rather take swimming lessons. Encourage your children to try different sports and activities. Kids crave variety in their activity schedule. Providing different ways to stay fit and healthy gives your child options to find what they enjoy doing.

Create a routine

Make sure physical activity is integrated into your daily and weekly schedules. Australian guidelines suggest children under the age of five should be active for at least three hours each day. Children between the ages of 5 – 18 should have at least one hour of moderate to vigourous exercise each day. Routines do not need to be limited to organised team sport, simply making Sunday afternoons your weekly trip to the local park encourages kids to stay active.

How do you encourage your kids to stay fit and healthy? Share your tips in the comments below…

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