Keeping Kids Active Once School Begins
By Joe Mullins, M. Ed., ATC
As summer vacation winds down and school activities ramp up, kids’ routines have the potential to undergo a drastic change. Much of the time spent during the summer months in being active will be replaced with classroom time sitting still. As parents, we need to help our children avoid the nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity by promoting after school physical activity.
Here are some recommendations to consider for assisting children in transitioning from a day of school to an afternoon of physical activity…
- The secret to this transition begins before the children leave home for school in the morning. A healthy breakfast is a must to jumpstart the body and mind for a productive day. Guidelines for a healthy breakfast can be found at http://www.mypyramid.gov/.
- Setting expectations for children before they leave home in the morning is also a good idea. To avoid any after school “misunderstandings”, encourage them to be thinking of a physical activity during the day they would like to enjoy after school.
- Allow children to enjoy an after school HEALTHY snack for energy.
- Some children may need some ideas for physical activity to choose from. Some options may include bike riding, playing tag with friends, family exercise time at a local community center, a neighborhood walk, playing hopscotch, jumping rope, or possibly washing the family car.
- Two other advantages of an after school physical activity “program” include children receiving a break between school and homework and them getting a good night’s sleep from the energy spent during them being active.
Implementing an after school physical activity “program” for children will assist in our children becoming healthier, more fit, and perhaps aid in having a successful academic school year.
Wishing you and your families health and success…