Getting and Keeping Children Active

by Tom Seman MD FAAP | May 28th, 2014 | Children's, Fitness Expert

medical exercise expertAs a parent, you have introduced your child to an activity or sport and gotten him active. The child likely will want to participate in some form of group version if that sport. Between the ages of approximately three to five the child is working on improving his coordination and developing the necessary muscle groups for the activity. From ages six through approximately nine, the child is now introduced to the idea of a competition. With this comes the need for, and the understanding of, the rules associated with the activity.

Honesty, fairness, good sportsmanship, the importance of hard work as well as the idea of winning and losing are important concepts for this age child to learn. These are lessons that are important and will be valuable throughout the rest of the child’s day and experiences.  The idea of hard work and dedication will help the child achieve in school, non-sport related activities, such as homework and chores as well as on the field.

As a parent, making sure that we demonstrate the need for commitment to the team is our duty. Being prepared, getting them to the field on time and going every day for practice and games even if he is tired. Children at this age are very black and white, right and wrong minded. Understanding the rules, knowing the expectations and requirements to participate is very important.  It is during this time, especially, that a child’s sense of fairness be nurtured. Hard work and dedication is to be developed along with the skills to succeed in the sport or activity.  With this new found and reinforced knowledge and abilities the child tries to perfect his acumen and become the best.  With our reinforcement he will also be the best sportsman as well. Make sure that after the game or practice that the child has an appropriate snack. He will crave carbs to help rebuild his stores but what is most needed is water and protein. Having a good snack within about 30 minutes after the workout improves muscle healing and development.

As a bonus to the parent, the ride to and from the sport game or practice is an opportunity to talk with your child, and enjoy spending some time with him. While in the car bring up the idea of healthy eating for improved performance, growth and healing of the muscles that were just used.  It is also a time where you can discuss the aspects of the game or activity of which you were most proud and those areas where you feel the child could do better. Always remember to do this constructively and always end with something positive.

Enjoy your children.  Spend as much time with them outside as much as possible.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.