Families who engage in play will find it has multiple benefits apart from the obvious upsides of exercise.
Here are some Top Tips for encouraging play in families of all shapes and sizes
When your child is small
- Babies through to toddlers will thrive on the opportunity to get out of the house and absorb the ever inspiring world. Watch them take in the vast array of colours and movement passing the pram as you take the footpath, rather than the car, to the local shops.
- Physical activity comes in thousands of different forms and will give you and your child just as many different benefits and experiences. Just be creative and turn it into fun!
- Take the opportunity to spend as little as 15 minutes sitting cross-legged at the local oval while you and your child pore over the tiny forms of life beneath the blades of grass or chat about their favourite colours.
- Throw a ball to each other. Roll down the hill together – I guarantee you years later they will laugh and laugh as they recall this experience of watching you roll down the slope. Fantastic! Memorable – fun – bonding – rejuvenating.
More than one child?
- Underlying sibling rivalry can be both harnessed and turned into a positive through family physical activity.
- With a little thought and planning, develop games you know your children can each win in turn (check out the resources coming out soon from The Play Project).
- With clear but simple guidelines and friendly control, you can muster your kids into healthy, fun-filled respect for each other and for your ingenuity.
What about Mum and Dad?
- Don’t forget yourself. Family physical activity is critical for mum and dad too. Parents are clearly time poor – running from fulltime jobs to school pickups to the supermarket to organised kids’ activities..
- But regularity is key. As the weather warms up, a walk or a jog (together or solo) not only ensures you clear your heads but your expanding lungs and stretching limbs will benefit just as much.
- In time, you may be so inspired to set goals for yourselves – walk faster, after dinner and enjoy your better quality sleep and a better settled night time tummy.
And don’t forget the grandparents!
- If you are lucky enough to have your parents close by, having the third generation involved in your family physical activity has multiple benefits for all three generations.
- Your kids will love to hear grandpa’s stories as he takes the kids and dog down to the playground.
- Gently pushing the swing will open up his lungs and unlock his shoulders and elbows. Remember, regularity is the key to gaining those benefits.