Each generation of American kids is less active and lean than the one before. At this point toddlers are being clinically diagnosed as obese. Many children are incapable of simple physical challenges like 10 sit-ups or push ups. Play has become sedentary and moved onto the screen.
Kids are expected to sit more then ever. At school they have less access to gym time, sports and even recess. Many parents rightfully believe that it is unsafe for kids to play outdoors unsupervised.
This downward spiral of inactivity leads to more sedentary choices, to less strength & health, to even more sedentary choices, etc.
As activity goes down, behavioral issues like ADHD, disrespect, and unchecked aggression increase.
To ensure that we lead our kids to habits of health we need to get them into a challenging complex movement practice. Any seasonal activity like sports while a fun pastime doesn’t count for this purpose. It must be a practice they can continue year round. They should be able develop further in their practice for a lifetime. The goal is to give them a physcial discipline that will keep them fit and healthy their whole lives. It must also be something they enjoy. Kids may take up an activity to please mom and dad but they will only continue it though low motivation times if it’s something they have a personal affinity for. Some examples of activities include: Climbing (bouldering), Dancing, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Parkour, and Swimming. Any activity that engages the whole body, is a skill and can be reasonably sustained long term will work. Whatever it is should leave them sweaty and tired 🙂
This activity should be done with rock solid consistency 2-3 times a week. Focus on sustaining for the long term and ingraining a disciplined, rain or shine physical practice.
Beyond that, look to increase general activity level. Have two hours a day where the whole family puts away all screens (do more time on the weekends)
Just shutting off the electronics will be enough to to encourage active play. (for kids and adults)