10 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Be More Physically Active


by Paul Rosengard, Dr. Jim Sallis, Dr. Thom McKenzie

For optimal health, children should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) every day and do vigorous sports or exercise 3 times a week.

1. Frequently ask your child what physical activities they like to do, then help them do it!
2. Be a role model. Show children physical activity is important by enthusiastically participating in it.
3. Participate with your child (e.g., play catch, chop firewood, go on walks together).
4. Encourage your child to participate on sports teams (e.g., Bobby Sox, Little League, basketball, etc.).
5. Plan family events, including weekend getaways and vacations, that include physical activity (e.g., hiking, water sports, skiing).
6. Enroll your child in out-of-school physical activity lessons and classes (e.g., martial arts, dance, swimming, gymnastics).
7. Transport your child to places where she/he can move and play safely.
8. Monitor television viewing and video game play. Have your child “earn” time for these “low voltage” activities by accumulating minutes of physical activity.
9. Select gifts that encourage physical activity (e.g., a ball, a jump rope, a pair of in-line skates).
10. Write and speak with school administrators showing your support for quality physical education and physical activity programs on campus.

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