Healthy Tip Tuesday – How to raise an active child

Activity helps your child learn healthy habits and includes many benefits.

Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you by Trinity Hospital Twin City
This information is provided courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Why is active play important?

  • Active children are less likely to reach an unhealthy weight.
  • Keeping your child active now helps lower the chance of developing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes.
  • Activities, like running and jumping rope, help your child learn movement skills to develop muscles and strong bones.
  • Active play can also help the mind develop. Playing “pretend” lets kids be creative.
  • Active children are more likely to be happy and feel good about themselves. Children feel proud after learning how to bounce a ball or ride a bike.

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Your child loves to move!

  • Officials encourage you to promote active play several times each day. They note that active play for children can happen in short bursts of time and can be led by you or your child. Active play can include playing on the playground, playing tag with friends, or throwing a ball.

How can you raise an active child?

  • Make active play fun for the whole family. Bring your children in on the fun of planning and executing active play ideas.
  • Focus on fun, not performance. All children like to play. They will win when they move, have fun, and are active daily.
  • Set limits on TV and computer time. Limit TV and other screen time to less than 2 hours a day, as advised by many health organizations. Try reading during inactive time rather than watching TV.
  • Be active yourself. Active parents tend to raise active children. You influence your child’s behavior, attitudes, and future habits. Be more active and limit your own time watching TV. Set the example by using safety gear, like bike helmets.

As children grow, they may be ready for new activities.

  • By age 2, they can run, walk, gallop, jump, and swim with adult help.
  • By age 3, they can hop, climb, ride at recycle or bicycle with training wheels and a safety helmet, and catch, throw, bounce, and kick a ball.
  • By age 4, they can skip, swim, and complete an obstacle course.

There are many activities you can do with your child.

  • Indoor play
    • Act out a story.
    • Turn up the music and dance.
    • Walk inside a shopping mall.
    • Play games, such as duck-duck-goose, hide and seek, follow the leader, Simon says.
  • Outdoor Play
    • Family walks after dinner.
    • Play catch.
    • Take a nature hike.
    • Games in the yard or park.
    • Kick a ball.

For more great tips on these and other subjects, check out choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers.

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