Activity is essential for kids. It keeps them fit and healthy, helps them concentrate in school and sets them up with great habits for the rest of their lives.
Get active every day
Children should play outdoors, ride their bikes and walk to school when possible. Suggest they earn some pocket money by doing chores around the house, or for neighbours. Get them to take the dog for a walk – or the neighbours’ dog, if you don’t have one. Send them to the park with their friends to play.
Swim at the local pool or beach
Children love the water and won’t even notice how much of a workout they are really getting as they will be having so much fun.
Get aerobic 2–3 times a week
Encourgage kids to take part in aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes at a time. Try cycling, swimming, rollerblading, skipping, trampolining or skateboarding. For regular exercise and fun with friends, try organised sports and activities, such as soccer, tennis, cricket, rugby, hockey, dancing, netball or athletics – whatever takes their fancy.
Cut down on...
TV, DVDs, surfing the internet and playing computer games. These activities are okay to do some of the time, but not all the time.
Get active early
Active kids are more likely to become active adults, so teach them to enjoy it now!
Eamon Sullivan: Go ahead and get the kids in the pool this summer! Learning to swim is not only important for safety, it’s also a great way to keep kids fit and healthy and will keep them cool on hot days, too! Swimming is a great all-round sport with benefits for every day.
Emily Seebohm: Balancing school work with training can be tough. A great way to keep motivated is to get involved in a competition. It will give you the motivation to continually improve and be the best you can be
Mums to the rescue
How do mums keep their kids active after school when they’re not busy with organised sport?
We meet friends at the park or playground, for afternoon tea. Anita Peterson, via email
Walk home from school with them and stop at the park on the way. They get home and are shattered! Or, put on some loud music with a good dance beat and join in with the kids having a good boogie. Sharon Sutherland, via email
During summertime I find if I am outside watering the garden or doing other things then the kids usually join me and, like a magnet, when I go inside they usually do too. Lisa O’Grady, VIC
We challenge the kids to teach our dogs new tricks. Megan Sargent, via email
I have a ‘treasure hunt’ after school somewhere in the backyard. I hide their favourite toy somewhere and they’ll run around looking for it. Rochelle Maifeleni, via email
TV is limited to a half hour directly after school, then they must get up and move. Then they don’t feel "deprived" of their TV/computer fix. D Rowston, via email
We have ‘Picnic Monday’ – dinner goes into an esky and the whole family heads off to the beach or a park. We play games and have a picnic dinner and stay until dark. We often have friends join us and can have quite a crowd some weeks. Jo Wallace, VIC
My kids know that during the week they can have half an hour of ‘screen time’ (TV, computer, Nintendo) if their homework is done. On Friday nights, they can do whatever they like and for as long as they like. (Often they are so tired, they fall asleep early.) On weekends, screen time is limited to after dark or 7pm. (Unless it’s something that we all can do,like Singstar.) Krys Lojek, NSWWe have a swimming pool they love to jump in when they get home. You can also pay them 20 cents a leaf to help get the pool clean! Cherrie-Ann Donnachie, NSW
We have trampolining and tree climbing competitions. Geraldine Manser, NSW
Finding challenges that they can build up to – and being involved with them. My daughter and I trained together for 8 weeks to do a 10km run. The rest of the family turned out to cheer and take photos and afterwards we went out for a cafe for lunch. Since then she has enrolled for a number of other events, and is more likely to ask me “can we go for a run?” Michelle Mako, via email