We all know that family who are super sporty. They win awards. The kids are stars at anything they do, and they seem to be the picture-perfect family. But every family is different, and if your child finds comfort in computer games or online socialisation, then that is okay. I repeat that is OK. For some neurodivergent and autistic families structured sport can be difficult and stressful. It can also be a struggle to find an inclusive club in your area. All this means is that you need to get creative with what being active means to you and your family.
To benefit their health, children over 5 should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be a structured sport – anything that gets them up and moving will do.
Here are some ideas to keep your family moving.
Do not underestimate the benefits of getting dirty in the garden. It can be physical, provide a great creative outlet, and be a fun family activity. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine has many health benefits, and undertaking a purposeful activity makes it even easier to get the kids involved. For example, get the kids to care for your existing plants by watering and pruning them. They also might like to create a fairy garden or car race track. Collect fallen leaves, seeds, and flowers for a collage or collection. Alternatively, plant vegetable seeds in the hopes of eating your produce. All of these can be ongoing activities.
Walking the dog
While walking the dog can seem like a chore at times, spending time with animals is a calming activity. This activity also takes the focus off the child having to be active because it can be explained as being for the dog’s benefit. Make it a venture for the whole family. You can extend the activity by finding your nearest dog park, taking a ball, and taking turns in throwing it. This is a great way to get moving minus the pressure.
This may seem a bit left of field, but painting is also a wonderful means of being active. Buy an easel and set up a painting station; you and your child should be standing while painting. This is great for hand-eye coordination, but standing provides an alternative to sitting down and playing on the computer. You could go on treasure hunts to find exciting things to paint. Another alternative is ‘painting’ the fence with water from a bucket on a hot day. The kids can ‘paint’ whatever they like with water and paint something different when the sun dries their original drawing.
Let’s use technology to our advantage. There are so many free tutorials available online that you and your family could try right now. Have they ever wanted to learn karate, or maybe Hip Hop has sparked an interest? Get online and explore a few exciting, fun activities in the privacy and safety of your own home. You never know; one of your family members could be the next karate black belt!
Set the family up with step counters and get the whole family involved. You could set a goal for everyone for the day or run it as a competition. Who can get the most steps in a week or even a day? You may be surprised how competitive the family gets in trying to get their steps up. This is also a great way to make everyone aware of how little or how much they are actually moving. For some families, simple rewards for meeting targets can be a fun incentive. Make sure that everyone is encouraged and set realistic expectations with targets based on your child’s age.
Active should not equate to stress and trauma.
As you can see, sport is not the only method to get your child active. By thinking outside the box, your family can keep moving and spend quality time together too. Not all kids are into sports, it could be anxiety around social interaction or even a fear of failure. If you think that you may want to give some inclusive sports a try then why not check out our directory for some inspiration.