How To Keep Your Kids Active
You don’t need to be good at sport at school to stay active. Unfortunately some children grow up feeling that they’re no good at sport and therefore avoid it. But not being picked for the firsts for rugby or netball at school should not deter you from taking up a sport outside school. There are many examples of successful athletes who were not massively into sport at school such as multiple Ironman winner, Chrissie Wellington and multiple UTMB winner, Lizzy Hawker. And physically active kids are more likely to be focused, motivated and successful in their school work. So how do you convince your “not-sporty” children to get away from their screens and get started?
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to start
Anyone can learn to ride a bike, regardless of how sporty they are. Whether you cycle along with them, or use it as an opportunity to run while they cycle along is up to you. The great thing about cycling is that you can cover a decent distance and explore a whole new area. As your children get older it can be liberating for them to cycle miles from home on their own. We recommend always wearing helmets even if you’re in the park. If you’d rather outsource the teaching, children’s lessons are available in many school and local boroughs.
Make parkrun a family event
If you do parkrun yourself, why not encourage the little ones to come too and run with them. Not every parkrun has to be run at breakneck speed and even if your children only run part of the way, it’s still a massive achievement for a child. Keep it non competitive and then turn it into a fun morning by having a family breakfast out afterwards. It’s easier to justify a Saturday morning fry-up if you’ve run 5km first!
If 5km is too far for your little ones, there is also junior parkrun a series of 2K events for children aged between 4-14 years.
Turn parkrun into a fun morning by having a family breakfast out afterwards
Consider which sports clubs are local to you
It’s worth considering which sports clubs are local to you. For example if you live near the river there might be canoeing, rowing or paddle boarding clubs on your door step. Most of these are not prohibitive in terms of cost. It can be refreshing for a child to try a completely different sport that is not taught at school and no one in the family has ever tried before. Our daughter took up canoeing off her own bat, then transitioned to rowing and within a few years found herself rowing at Henley.
Holidays are a great way to try a new sport
If you can find a holiday destination with activities as part of the package, all the better. Rather than going for one of the usual suspects with multiple activities (Mark Warner, ClubMed), you can always seek out a specialist with a strong reputation such as Minorca Sailing.
Holidays are the perfect opportunity to take up a new sport
You’ll relax more on holiday if your children are good swimmers
From experience, we’d say learning to swim well is like learning a language. If you want to swim really well, you need to develop the right technique at a relatively young age. Having said this, Michael Phelps was afraid of water until the age of seven! Whilst swimming may not be your thing, it’s a good idea to at least teach them the basics partly because it’s a lot more relaxing when you’re on holiday if your children are good swimmers.
Don’t force it
Whilst we’re great believers in getting kids active, it’s best not to force it. Sport is better left as a fun activity and it should be up to the child if they want to become super competitive. If children feel there’s too much pressure on them, they are more likely to abandon the sport. Witness David Beckham’s three sons’ decision to give up football, despite the fact that they undoubtedly had natural talent, having all been signed by Arsenal in 2014.
We’d love to hear your ideas about getting children into sport, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!