According the Department of Health, children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Exercise is important for your child’s health. It helps them develop social skills, manage their mood and improves concentration. But just like adults, kids don’t love going outside when it’s cold and dark. So if you’re looking for ways to keep the kids active over winter, try these five tips:
The key to making it outside in winter is dressing appropriately. If you’re going for a walk in the park or the kids play a team sport, make sure they are dressed in layers. Think warm jackets, leggings, scarfs and beanies – you might end up a walking wardrobe once they warm up, but it’s better than a cold, miserable child!
Enrol in winter sports
Netball, AFL, rugby and hockey are just a couple of sports that run across winter. Organised winter sports get your child outside for training sessions as well as the game. , they also encourage teamwork and are a great opportunity for them to make new friends.
Once they’re running around, most children don’t notice the cold anymore. But just make sure you have some warm, dry clothes waiting on the sideline so they don’t get cold after the final whistle blows.
The NSW Government is helping kids get active with the new Active Kids program. Parents can apply for a $100 voucher per year for each child enrolled in school to help subsidise the cost for sport, fitness and active recreation activities. Learn more about the program here.
Try indoor sports
Some children love running around in the rain, while others turn blue. If outdoor sports aren’t your child’s cup of tea, have a closer look at indoor sports. You can find recreation centres that run basketball, netball, soccer and badminton indoors (which can more pleasant for the spectators as well). Indoor swimming pools will be heated, and activities such as gymnastics, martial arts and dancing all carry on throughout winter.
60 minutes of physical activity doesn’t have to be playing sport. Skipping, playing chasey, swinging on the monkey bars or jumping on a trampoline are great ways for kids to have fun and stay active. If it’s been a miserable week consider taking the kids bowling, ice skating, rollerblading or to an indoor trampoline park.
Limit screen time
Part of keeping children active is reducing sedentary behaviour. Some activities, such as schoolwork, reading and completing homework need to be done sitting down. This needs to be balanced out, and even active children will benefit from limiting the amount of time spent sitting or lying down. Keep screen time to no more than 2 hours a day and look to the tips above to keep your children occupied.
If you have any questions call the NDSS Helpline 1800 637 700 to speak to an Exercise Physiologist.