As parents there’s nothing more we want for our children than to grow up healthy and happy. Everything we do is orientated towards this goal. But of course this can be interpreted in many different ways and it’s sometimes confusing to know what’s right for our children.
Happily, there are a few things about which there is no doubt: eating right, getting enough sleep, not spending too much time on screens. One of the most important of these is sport. Children who regularly spend time doing physical activities not only grow up with better physical health, but also tend to be happier with improved mental well being. So, what should we as parents be doing to encourage our children to get some exercise? What are the right sports to be trying at each age? From easy cricket games for kids to helping out with chores, here’s a go-to guide:
From birth to two years old
It’s great to get your little one into the habit of physical activity from as young as possible. As soon as your child is moving about you can encourage them to participate in different sporty activities. Look for local parent and baby groups that support parents with a range of activities and exercises which will also help with your child’s development of motor skills.
Three to five year old
As kids move into the toddler and slightly older stage there are a few different options to try. Group activities are still a good option – lots of sport centres run beginners dance or gymnastics groups for children of this age. It’s also important to start teaching them that being active isn’t just about sport, it’s about integrating physical activities into everyday life. Teach them how to improve their health and strength while doing everyday things like walking around or helping you with the chores!
Five to ten year olds
In the five to ten age group it’s time to start encouraging kids to get involved with more organised sports. Easy cricket games, informal football matches, a local netball club… Getting children active in team sports at this age aids their social development, helping them to form potentially lifelong friendships.
The ten plus age group
From the age of ten and into the teenage years it’s vital to ensure children’s exercise habits continue as it’ll help them deal with the emotional rollercoaster of the coming decade. The key here is to help them find something they really enjoy. That’s what will stick. As a parent you can encourage them to try different types of physical activities until they find something that really suits them.
Those are our top tips for getting your kids into sport whatever their age. Whether it’s easy cricket games, solo running or simply stretching their muscles as they sweep the kitchen floor, help your little ones to find something that they enjoy then sit back and watch them thrive.