Five ways to keep kids on the move and off the couch 04/20/2010
Remember trying to pry your toddlers off the playground equipment? If your kids are now preteens or older, it may be a bigger challenge to pry them away from endless hours of TV and computer games, a lifestyle that can contribute to obesity and possibly other health problems.
Naperville parents Peggy and Dan Wainscott make sure that their daughters, Wendy, 14, and Molly, 12, have active, fun alternatives to sedentary screen time.
The whole family enjoys a membership at Edward Health & Fitness Centers where the girls take kids classes, such as yoga, boot camp and sports circuit, which combines sports with strength and stability training.
"The fitness center is such a good resource for Wendy and Molly, and they like the classes so much," says Peggy. "It allows them to stay active even during breaks in their school and community swimming and basketball schedules."
Forty-seven-year-old Peggy's battle with fibromyalgia, and a history of heart disease in both her family and her husband's, motivated her to teach her daughters when they were younger to lead healthy, active lives.
Peggy's advice to other parents?
"Kids are more likely to follow an activity if their friends are doing it. Talk with parents of your child's friends about signing them up for the same fitness classes or sports."
Colleen Eggers, children's program manager offers additional tips for getting your growing spuds off the couch:
1. Create family challenges and rewards -- e.g., a prize for chalking up the most steps on the pedometer over the weekend.
2. Schedule weekly family active time -- bike or hike, or make the living room a dance studio. Regularly visit arboretums, zoos, museums and other attractions.
3. Let your children see you making exercise a priority.
4. If your children balk at team sports, introduce them to alternatives such as yoga, swimming, rollerblading or pick-up ball games in the park.
5. Promote development of community walking paths, and field trips as part of the curriculum at school.
To learn about children's fitness classes at Edward Health & Fitness Center, click on FitKids under the Fitness Menu.