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Sports Day: Ways to get your kids to be more active
Did you know that October 8th is Sports Day?
Sports Day is a Japanese national holiday created two years after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to commemorate the Summer Olympics (which was held in October to accommodate the Tokyo climate) and promote sports and an active lifestyle.
It takes place every year on the second Monday of October and many Japanese schools and companies hold their annual field day known as undō-kai on this day. This typically consists of widely practiced sports events like 4 x 100m relay to events more unique to Japan like tama-ire (where teams compete to see who can throw the most bean bags into a overhead basket) or kumitaiso (where teams create various shapes with their bodies like the human pyramid). These are all-day events complete with luxurious bento lunches!
The importance of health and exercise can't be stressed enough especially as society is shifting more and more to sedentary lifestyles. A survey conducted in the UK found that only 9 percent of parents of 5-16 year olds say that their children get the World Health Organization-recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Globally, only 19 percent of adolescents aged 11-17 were getting sufficient physical activity in 2010. In addition to health benefits like maintaining a healthy bodyweight, reducing the risk of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, varying types of cancers, and even depression, physical activity in children can help with their development of healthy musculoskeletal tissues, a healthy cardiovascular system and neuromuscular awareness. Because of this, it is crucial for kids to establish a healthy and active lifestyle from a young age.
In celebration of Sports Day, we're introducing some ways you can get your kids to be more active!
1. Lead by Example
Children learn by imitating adults, especially their parents. If you are active, your kids will want to be active too. If you are lacing up every morning to go for a run or commuting by bike, your kids are going to wonder what that's all about. If you don't make staying active a priority, your kids are not going to be receptive when you tell them to get off their butts and get moving!
2. Reduce Screen Time
In a recent study in the UK, children aged 7-11 reported screen time as one of the major barriers to being active. With access to a wide range of screen options including smartphones, tablets, computers, and television, many children recognize the addictive nature of screens. Yet, just like adults, recognizing its addictive nature doesn't mean we can resist it. That's why it is key that as parents, we limit our children's screen time.
3. Think Outside the Box
Replace transportation vehicles with other methods of transport like walking or cycling. Even taking the subway or train is better than getting a ride in the car. Take the stairs instead of the escalators. Make a game out of it!
4. Make it a Play Date
Everything's better with a friend! Going to the park, going for a swim, soccer practice... it's much more fun when you've got a buddy! Make play dates active by suggesting to take the kids to a swimming pool, the park, or an indoor climbing gym!
5. Make it a Routine
About 40-45% of what we do every day is a habit. Making something into a habit decreases the effort you have to put into completing the task. Incorporate being active into your child's daily routine. Like brushing their teeth after waking up or before going to bed, make it a routine for your kids to do 20 jumping jacks at a stoplight or shoot some hoops on Saturday mornings.
Sometimes kids are more receptive in trying new things when it comes from someone other than their parents. Ask your babysitter to get active with your kids! Many of the babysitters at CareFinder love to play sports, dance, and get active. At CareFinder, we are committed to meeting all of your babysitting needs whether you are looking for just an evening babysitter, an international babysitter, a hotel babysitter, a weekend babysitter, an overnight babysitter, a great au pair or a summer babysitter.