5 ways to get kids off the couch
We asked older kids what they like to do to stay active. Here's what they had to say.
For many kids, summer vacation is a time to sit back and relax. But with no school or organized after-school activities filling kids' days, all that unstructured time can lead to too much sitting around. Unfortunately, today's kids often spend a lot of time watching TV, using their computers or playing video games. Even when they get together with friends, many prefer sedentary activities rather than going outside to play. This creates a fundamental problem – kids aren't active enough.
A lack of activity over the summer can lead to weight gain and is not good for kids' health. Children should get about 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity a day, according to the CDC. So how do you get older kids to be more active instead of spending the summer on the couch? The key to getting kids to move more is to encourage them to do activities they enjoy.
We asked a group of preteens to tell us what they like doing to stay active in the summer. Here are 5 of the most popular answers:
- Walking the dog – Kids absolutely adore their pets. While they may not want to take a walk by themselves, they say they enjoy taking the dog out to walk or play. Walking the dog gets kids and Fido moving and that's good for them both.
- Biking – When kids are old enough to ride a bike on their own, it gives them the freedom to roam around the neighborhood and see friends. It also gets them outside and keeps them moving.
- Joining a swim team – Swimming is a great summer sport because it exercises muscles and joints in the whole body while keeping kids cool. Being part of a swim team also adds structure and competition, which is fun.
- Getting out in nature – Hiking is another fascinating way for kids to be active and entertained at the same time. Preteens often enjoy adventurous activities and exploring new sights.
- Going to camp – Summer camps are a fun way for your child to stay active. They offer all sorts of activities that can appeal to kids with varied interests and most keep campers on the move throughout the day.
Rather than nagging your kids to get off the couch, suggest activities you know they already enjoy. Or plan active family outings to keep the whole family moving. It will not only be fun, but will be good for everyone's health.