Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Encouraging Physical Activity at Home - Project

Let's face it growing up today is not the same as it used to be. The children in the United States are becoming less and less active. Many children today ride the bus to school, ride the bus home and play indoors (mostly television, video game and computer use). The extracurricular physical activities in a child's life are mostly organized sports. Pediatric occupational and physical therapists can encourage physical activity as a leisure activity leading to a healthier lifestyle for all children.

To get started perhaps you can devise a long term physical activity goal. Each month have a child pick something to do that requires physical activity with their family. Perhaps it is taking a hike, walking the mall, free play outdoors, sledding... whatever is possible for the family and child to complete. Provide the children with a hand out regarding the importance of physical activity. Check out this APTA page - Smart Moves for Families.

For each monthly activity, have the child take a photograph, video or draw a picture of what the activity included. Each month have a sharing day at school where the kids can describe what physical activity they completed. This allows other students to share physical fitness ideas with the whole class to spark interest in others.

At the end of the year, give the children a prize who have completed 10 physical activity tasks. Make sure the prize also encourages a healthy lifestyle i.e. free pass to a roller skating rink, playground ball or jump rope.

2 comments:

TherExtras said...

Forming a book of the activities is a great idea. The WiiFit game came to mind for this, also. Basically, parents who are able should create their own PE curriculum - sounds like. I suspect that a family's whole lifestyle might have to lean philosophically in the direction of 'healthy' for this to work (last a year). At what ages do you think this would be most successful? I think ages 5 to 8 years.

Barbara

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

I do think you could influence a family who may not be into a "healthy" lifestyle by recommending one activity a month. Research has shown that parents who set a good example influence their child's physical activity level. Children can put a lot of pressure on parents to complete something if it comes from the school. I think it would be successful in children older than 8 years old. I believe it has to be implemented correctly though with lots of creative suggestions (mostly free) that will get the kids excited about a family outing. After 12 years old, not sure if it would be as successful - much harder to get your kid to hang out with parents. Maybe as they get older, groups of kids could arrange an monthly outdoor activity with a parent chaperone?