Between school, television and homework, my six-year-old just doesnt get enough outdoor activity. Im working and theres no one to pick and drop him to sports coaching classes. He spends free time on the internet. How do I ensure he gets enough physical activity? — D.K., Mumbai
Browse the net and youtube for videos which invite kids to dance and/or exercise together. There are action songs which encourage children to participate. Child exercise videos can also help children to exercise together. Look out for the most interesting ones to get your child started.
Buy a hula hoop, skipping rope and indoor equipment. Make the time to teach your child games and activities with these aids — the internet can help you find many.
If sports coaching on weekdays wont work, you could look out for weekend sports or dance classes. Once your child gets hooked, he can practice at home on weekdays with a little motivation.
Set clear limits for TV/internet time, and ensure that your child respects them. Try to find family friends who can take your child to the park once a week together with their kids, while you return the favour on weekends or whenever you find time.
Are you curbing your childs instincts?
We might unconsciously be suppressing the natural urge of children to be active. Allow climbing, swinging and jumping, while supervising for safety and making it clear that some activities must not go unsupervised.
Stop saying Stop jumping. Youll fall Kids have to learn alertness and balance through trial and a few falls. Jumping is great for exercise and balance.
Or Dont run. Go slowly When space permits, let kids express their energy by running. It builds stamina. Or Watch out. You might get hurt Kids naturally try gym-style rolls and movements. Remember, they are naturally flexible and wont sprain a limb as easily as an adult. They can instinctively figure out what they can do, and need to learn to take calculated risks.