Many families face barriers to being more active. What can we do to overcome some of the most common challenges, and build more physical activity into our children’s day?
Children of all ages benefit from regular physical activity, but sometimes there are challenges that get in the way. Like any habit, being regularly active takes time to form. Overcoming common obstacles to physical activity can support our kids to be more active and reap the health rewards.
If you have concerns about your neighbourhood’s safety, consider:
- joining a local PCYC
- signing up to after-school activities or sporting clubs
- going to nearby neighbourhoods where you feel more comfortable.
If finding activities and programs that suit your family is a challenge, try:
- exploring your neighbourhood and surrounds, such as parks, beaches, water play parks, recreational centres and clubs and associations
- seeing whether your local library or city council offers activities or health programs for families and children. These activities are organised, safe, and typically offered at low or no cost.
Family life is often busy. If time is limited, you could try:
- building activity into your existing routine, like walking or riding bikes to school
- getting off the bus early and walking the rest of the way
- encouraging outside play before dinner
- swapping screen time for active play.
Staying motivated can be a challenge, especially when other factors like time and access are at play. Finding activities that are right for your children and family is the first step – physical activity can and should be enjoyable, not a chore. Check out our list of physical activity ideas or brainstorm your own list as a family.
Weather can be an issue, especially in Queensland.
If it’s a hot season, consider:
- planning for your activity to be in the cooler parts of the day (morning and afternoon/evening)
- visiting the local pool or water park
- putting on the sprinkler at home.
If the weather is cold or wet, think about:
- dressing for the climate – you might find kids will love getting wet and splashing in paddles and using their gumboots and umbrella
- trying some indoor activities.
Remember: safety first
If your family doesn’t do much activity at the moment, start slow and build over time.
Children should wear suitable foot wear such as well fitted sandals or joggers, especially for outdoor activity. Thongs do not provide enough support for feet.
No matter the season or weather, it’s always important to be sun safe and stay hydrated.
The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines are relevant to all apparently healthy children and young people. The known health benefits of being physically active outweigh the potential risks. If in doubt, or if your child experiences pain when they exercise, see your doctor.