It’s been well shown that being fit and staying active helps not just the usual areas of health like heart and lungs, but healthier people usually don’t get anywhere near as serious Covid19 related complications and hospital admissions as unhealthy, sedentary people.
Here’s the link to the full article, but as they edited it (naturally), here’s my full answers below:
1. Why may parents be struggling to keep their kids active right now?
As a working parent this lockdown has been harder than last time. Schools are putting more effort into home-schooling, which is great! Except I’m having to be a teacher all day too to help, and the long walks of the Christmas holidays have been replaced with a quick march round the block, if anything at all. Kids are also missing their friends and games such as fortnight and Roblox are ways they can ‘play’ together, only these screen-based games aren’t getting them active like school playtime would.
2. Why is it so important to incorporate activity and movement into your child’s day?
All the studies show both adults and children learn and concentrate better with active breaks. I walk my 8 year old to and from school every day but we’re not doing that now. She also normally has structured breaks and p.e. lessons that break up the school day. Young kids especially don’t concentrate for long without a break; they’ll get on with work much faster if they’ve had some fresh air and exercise every hour or so, even if it’s just playing in the back garden or walking to the end of the road and back with a parent. If you can’t get outdoors then any active indoor game is good. Some computer consoles have physical active games, or youtube has exercise and dance videos for kids.
3. What would your advice be to parents who say they don’t feel like they have time to exercise with the kids right now?
Outsource the job to someone else! I can’t praise Joe Wicks enough for his morning p.e. on youtube, but there’s other similar trainers who do kids’ workouts online. Or if there’s a sibling to play with, get them to have their active time together and play a game or have races outside. If your neighbours have kids maybe they could all go into their gardens at the same time, if you have one, and chat over the fence for some social interaction. Rewards can work for some kids – make it a challenge to do a certain number of star-jumps, or to learn a dance routine and have a ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ style competition against siblings. Some in-person kid’s class sports teachers have moved classes online too so it’s worth checking out what’s available. Mine have done dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading online and it’s a nice way to see other kids too.
4. What would your advice be to parents who are apprehensive to leave the house right now to exercise?
Most people have access to some green space nearby but there might be times when these get busy. Maybe first thing in the morning or later in the day these are quieter than in the middle of the day. It might mean wrapping up warm while it’s so cold outside but at least you don’t have to worry about bumping into too many people. Everyone is worried about catching Covid but fresh air circulating outside makes it a much less risky place that meeting people outdoors. And the health benefits of exercise are so great that people who are fit and healthy from getting some sunshine and exercise are much less likely to get Covid related complications than sedentary people, so in the event you did catch Covid, you’re in a much better position to fight it off quickly.
5. We’ve seen PE with Joe and Marcus Rashford’s efforts loved nationwide, but what would your top five tips be for a parent struggling to keep their kids active at home right now?
1) sit down with the kids and ask them what they’d enjoy doing – they’re much more likely to do it if they’ve come up with the solutions.
2) break daily exercise into at least 3 sessions, even if they’re just 10 minutes long. Morning, midday and afternoon ideally so they’re spread out.
3) ask fellow parents which TV shows, youtube videos, or online sports coaches their kids are enjoying
4) offer drinks and healthy snacks at activity-break times. Learning and moving makes kids hungry!
5) If you’re struggling to find time for your own exercise, join in with the kids! It makes it more fun for them and you get the benefits of having a break from working, teaching and chores.
Finding 24/7 with your kids hard?! You’re not alone! Come and meet other Mums like you who want to eat better and get fit in my Facebook Group Here