As a parent, you can help shape your child’s attitudes and behaviors regarding physical activity. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day. That may sound like a lot for a school day, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. There are so many ways to squeeze in activity at different times of the day.

Before school:

Start the day off right and fit a little activity into your routine before your child hops on the bus.

  • Walk the dog
  • Do morning stretches or yoga
  • Dance around the living room
  • Walk or bike to school if you can

After school:

When the school day ends, let the games begin! Encourage kids to use their after-school energy to get active with friends, siblings, teams, or on their own.

  • Sign up for an active after-school program or recreation center class.
  • Play a team sport like soccer or basketball.
  • Do active things with friends like riding bikes or playing at the playground.
  • Kids can get active by helping out around the house. When they wash the car, clean their rooms, or rake leaves in the yard, it counts as physical activity — and it makes your life a little easier.

In the evening:

As the day winds down, try to find a few minutes to get active as a family. When you move with your kids, you get the health benefits too.

  • Take a walk before or after dinner
  • Turn commercial breaks into fitness breaks when you’re watching TV
  • Start a family dance party
  • Play active games, like catch and kickball

When incorporating healthy play into your child’s routine, the most important thing is to be a role model. Show off your dance moves, model some yoga poses, or teach them your favorite sport. When kids see you enjoying physical activity, they may want to try it too.

For more ideas to get kids active, contact your local Child and Youth Programs, or sign them up for Youth Sports. Be an active role in your child’s development and sign up to be a coach.