Monday, April 17, 2006

Getting Kids Active…

Getting Kids Active…

How do we get kids more active? Hello and welcome to this very interesting topic and a question that is a very important one to many parents and coaches alike.

In today’s world of bad food, bad exercise habits, and Video/TV screens of all sorts ruling our kids lives- our kids would rather play a sport game on a screen than literally play it – we need to HELP them get out there and get active. There is one other observation I have made in my travels as well – kids around the world have forgotten how to – or have no idea how to play by themselves or outside with friends!!!! So here’s the secret…Get Out There With Them!!!!

Usually when people read this they think they are going to have to be as active as their children and play chase and all those other games that kids play. Why don’t you start with basketball???? Here are some really simple tips to get this process happening…

1. Turn off the TV or Video Game – for the day, for the weekend – whatever – make it a “screen free” weekend – no computers, TV’s, video games – if it has a screen – it is off!

2. Don’t go out in the heat of the day – this is just not smart, try mid morning or late afternoon when the sun has lost a bit of it’s strength – this is meant to be FUN remember?

3. If you are actually playing basketball against your child/children, you will find that they will play for a very long time – for one simple reason – because YOU are out there with them! Kids just want to hang with mum & dad – wherever that may be.

4. If you don’t have a basketball ring handy, or the room to play a game, you can play bouncing games with a ball, you can play down ball, funny passing, dribble tests, there is one more that I found is awesome to do with little kids and keeps them amused for a long period of time – ready for it? Make a ring with your arms and let them either do shooting at you or let them have a little dunk session – kids LOVE it. All you need to do is stand there with your arms in a circle and praise them!

5. Commentate! Yes – kids love hearing their own name and especially in a situation like this – make it fun – you can even introduce them at the start of the game – let their imagination go wild – they can be just like the players on TV – getting introduced! WOW! If you want to take it one step further – put on a music player and have them introduced to some cool music – they go crazy – its great fun to watch!!!! (You can also do this if you don’t want to actually join in the game – they know you are watching them perform as well.)

6. Make it regular – when is the best time to do this? Well – there are no rules – in summer – why not after school or whenever is best for all of you to get together. Get your kids to invite their friends over if you want to have a game – or just make it family time. What about on a weekend at a set time say Sunday morning at 10am – you can then get the kids all excited about the weekly game challenge and that this week you are going to be ready for them – whether you play or not – make an effort in some way.

The upside of these games is this – when your kids get older – this is something they will bring up as a very happy memory and hopefully they will do the same with their kids. If we can all make a little effort – we can change habits in our kids.

And one last little snippet I heard at a tournament recently – “kids in sport stay out of court”. Enough said huh? Treasure these moments with your children – they will not last forever!

Any comments or feedback on this article can be forwarded directly to Bruce –