It’s cold out. We know. With all the holiday parties, the wind chill, and the whole getting dark before dinner thing, it’s tough to get out and get the exercise we all need. Add to that the fact that mobile devices and on-demand television are available, literally, at the touch of a button, and you have a recipe for a sedentary winter.
Despite the odds stacked against you as a parent, there is good news. A Nickelodeon survey found that 80% of children responded that they want to spend more time with their parents. So even though the average child gets 5 hours of screen time each day, getting them to disconnect from a device and connect with you shouldn’t be too difficult. Just in case, here are 12 new year’s activities for kids to help you keep them (and you) active all year ’round.
Children’s Health expert for the American Council on Exercise, Len Saunders, names being a role model as one of the top ways to get children to enjoy physical activity. He says “When children are asked who their number one health role model is, their answer is usually ‘my parents.’ So if a parent leads a healthy lifestyle by engaging in physical activity and proper nutrition, a child will follow his or her lead.”
Promote an active lifestyle by limiting your own screen time, and make healthy choices and exercise a priority in everyday life.
Do you already have a family game night? How about adding a game of tag, twister, or dodgeball? Do you have a weekly movie night? Perhaps kick it off with a family walk around the neighborhood before settling in. Pairing active time with things you already do is an easy way to sneak in some bonus new year’s activities for kids.
Does your family hibernate all winter, creating sedentary habits that spill over into spring? Engage your kids in creating a calendar together, listing monthly activities you can do as a family, indoors and out. Link your new year’s activities for kids to new family traditions. Get excited about winter sledding, skating, or skiing. Bring out the family bicycles in March as soon as it’s warm enough for a ride. Look forward to the pool or beach days in the summer and hikes to see the turning leaves in the fall. There are so many options!
Even during colder weather, planning a family night out once a week is a great way to stay active together and have fun! Keep it interesting by switching it up week to week – bowling this week, family swim at the YMCA next week. Attend open jump time or a special family event night at a Launch Trampoline Park near you.
After being at work and in school all day, your entire family probably needs some time to shake it off! While you’re working on getting dinner on the table, why not crank up some tunes and dance around the house together? It’s a great way to reduce stress, lighten the mood, and establish a family habit of being active instead of slumping on the couch right away.
Children do well with structure and parents need their own time to decompress at the gym. Family memberships to gyms and YMCA’s allow all ages to sign up for things like dance, martial arts, or yoga. We’re partial to bouncing fitness at places like Launch! Get creative and find something for everyone in your family, even the preschool set, since there are many different types of active classes for kids as young as 3.
When you’re thinking about the new year’s activities for kids, make sure your emphasis on exercise isn’t another way they feel pressured or criticized. Empower them to choose their own active adventures. Take turns planning family outings or go places where there are lots of potential activities and allow them to choose. Outdoor parks and recreation centers often have hiking and biking trails, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and more. For indoor play, try Launch Trampoline Park where we have multiple areas to explore like a dodgeball court, a kids court for the littlest ones to bounce safely, a foam pit, and an arcade for breaks.
Does your family have a favorite basketball or football team? Find ways to connect your favorite fan activities to the new year’s activities for kids, from wearing jerseys out on family outings to putting stickers on your bikes or gear. Do your kids already play sports for part of the year? Look for off-season training opportunities to keep them engaged with team spirit year round.
Keep a chart on a weekly family calendar with gold stars or cute stickers for active hours. The government initiative “Let’s Move” encourages goal setting as a family as a way to increase activity in your family’s routine. They even have a downloadable template to make it easy to track your activity.
If you’re tracking activity anyway, friendly competition can encourage kids to spend more time being active. Encourage them to mark and surpass their own goals. Or allow your children to earn and exchange “active hours” for other privileges including tv, video game, or tablet time.
Caring for a new pet as a family is a fantastic way to learn responsibility and patience. Split up some of the duties like feeding and cleaning up after your pet, but when it’s time for a walk, the whole family can join in. Take the dog along for family walks every day, spend time playing fetch or tug, and get your kids to run laps with their new best buddy.
A study by the Journal of Pediatric Medicine reported that games with high-intensity and medium-intensity activity had the same health benefits as other recommended physical activities for kids. Choose more active video games that kids can play with each other or with you. Xbox and Wii both have a whole array of active games from tennis, bowling, and even virtual snowboarding. Popular games like the “Just Dance” series have age-appropriate music, including Disney version for the preschool set!
Find your nearest Launch location and plan your next family adventure today!