The earlier children are encouraged to be physically active, the more likely they'll stay active as they get older, providing a strong foundation for a lifetime of health. Young kids need 60 minutes of active play every day, but it doesn't have to be all at once. It's the total amount of time that counts, so add it up! Plus, physical activity for kids under 5 is more than organized sports. It can be as simple as incorporating fitness into everyday activities.
So get your kids moving with these tips from First 5 California:
- Encourage kids to help with active household chores: Ask your child to help with age-appropriate household chores like putting toys away, sweeping the floor with a small broom or walking with you while you take out the trash.
- Errands as exercise: Walk more and drive less when running errands. If you have to drive, park as far away as possible. Added perk: It's easier to find a parking space!
- Walk and shop: Encourage your child to walk beside you in the grocery store instead of riding in the shopping cart. Climb the stairs while shopping instead of using the escalator too.
- Plant a garden: Have your kids help plant a vegetable garden and keep it thriving by watering, pulling weeds and picking the fresh veggies. Gardening is a great way for kids to build strength and flexibility while also learning about healthy food choices.
- Make reading more active: Have kids actively participate in story time instead of sitting. For example, if you read a book with animal characters, ask them to leap like a frog or hop like a bunny just like the animals in the book. It's a fun way to get kids moving and enjoying reading too!
- Turn off the tube: The more time kids spend in front of a TV or computer screen, the less they actively play. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under age 2 and less than two hours of quality programming a day for older kids.
- Make physical activity fun: Figure out what activity your child truly enjoys, such as taking the dog on a walk, dancing, kicking a ball, swimming or jumping rope. Make sure your child has regular opportunities to engage in that activity.
For more tips on raising active kids, visit First5California.com/parents.