Dr Chatterjee's five tips to get children active
Dr Rangan Chatterjee is one of the most well-known doctors in the UK. His bestselling books including 'The Stress Solution' and his wider work focus on helping people identify lifestyle changes in order to lead happier, healthier lives. Movement is one of the key elements. But how can children and families incorporate physical activity into busy, everyday life? Dr Chatterjee gave Super Movers his top tips!
1. Model behaviour
As adults we've got to model the behaviour that we want our children to experience. We can't expect kids to do just what we are telling them to do. In my eight years as a dad I've realised that kids actually, more often than not, do what they see us doing rather than what we tell them to do.
So try and be active at every opportunity - when you go to the supermarket, if there's a lift to take, why not get the stairs instead? That's something I do and actually some days when I want to take the lift, my daughter will now say, "Daddy come on, I thought we need to use the stairs and not the lift?" So it actually helps keep you in check as an adult as well.
Try and incorporate these things in your family routine. So for me, in our family, every night before dinner, if I'm back from work, we have a little five minute workout together as a family. We do some squats. We do some star jumps then we do some animal moves where the kids climb on me and I try and crawl around the kitchen. Yes, it can drive my wife crazy sometimes but what's great about it is that it gets us all active and it gets us having fun.
Again, on days when I don't feel like doing it, often my son will say, "Daddy are we not doing our squats tonight?" So actually it's much easier to motivate ourselves when many people in the family are trying to do the same thing.
3. Make it fun
Think about what do your kids find fun? If you're trying to get your kids to be more physically active, you're trying to force them to do something that they really don't enjoy doing, it's going to be very, very limiting. You really want to focus on 'actually what do my kids enjoy doing?' Focus on that and actually it's much more likely to become long-term.
4. Getting to school
My fourth tip is walk to school wherever possible. It's such a simple one but many people are driving to school for five, ten, fifteen minute walks that could easily be done in a different way. It's great to get your kids active first thing in the morning. It's going to help them concentrate better when they do get to school.
Now, some people are going to say, "actually you know what? I can't do that. My school is too far away or I have to get a bus to school." OK that's fine, maybe you can park the car ten minutes away and walk the final ten minutes. Or get off the bus one stop earlier and walk that final bit. It may not sound like much but it's these little things day in, day out that really do add up and make a difference.
5. Get walking
My final tip would be to embrace junior parkrun. Now if you're lucky enough to have a junior parkrun near you, they are fantastic community events. I've been doing it with my son since he was four years old and my daughter since she was five. Basically they are 2k runs but you can walk them, there's no pressure at all. And you do it together.
Children will often see friends from their school, friends from the local community. Often the families do it together and it's just a really fun experience. It takes individual motivation out of the question and you do things as a group and as a strong, cohesive community. So those would be my top five tips to help kids get more active.
Super Movers aims to get children moving throughout the day with lots of free, easy-to-use video resources and great football-inspired incentives like a visit from the Premier League Trophy. Brain Booster routines star famous faces and cover key areas of Numeracy and Literacy. They can be used in the classroom or at home to help children feel refreshed and energised whilst learning. The Just for Fun routines help get the whole family active together. Why not have a go?