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HomeHealth & BehaviorHealth & Nutrition

Encourage Physical Activity at Home

How you can help at home: Finding the right physical activity for your child will keep her fit.

By Amy Kaiser, Consulting Educator

Become a partner in selecting activities for your child. First, share with your children your favorite activities. Children at this age enjoy companionship. If you like biking, jogging or hiking, be sure to include them sometimes to enhance that family bond. If you take an exercise or yoga class, see if the instructor will allow a visitor to participate.

Second, find out more about your child's hopes and dreams. If your child dreams of becoming the next great football, soccer or baseball star, now is the time to find a neighborhood-sponsored team or league. Children at this age can develop talent for sports they can enjoy in the future. If your child is not interested in team sports, make sure she tries individual sports like tennis, swimming, running or gymnastics. Your child can participate in these sports as part of a team, too, if she likes the camaraderie of teammates.

Some children do not want to be involved in a sport, but they still need activity for health and fitness. For these children, look for community education or local fitness center-sponsored kick-boxing, martial arts or dance classes.

Finally, give your child plenty of opportunity for trial and error. What he picks first may not turn out to be his favorite activity. Encourage him to complete the season, but next year, let him try something else if he wants to. Discuss the pros and cons of the activity so he learns to evaluate the effectiveness and the enjoyment level of different sports. Keeping that conversation going is a great way to stay involved in your child's activities.

Amy Kaiser

was 2005 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in Minnesota.

Amy Kaiser is a physical education teacher specialist for the Duluth Public Schools in Minnesota. A stay-at-home mom for several years, she re-entered the education field and has been working as an elementary physical education specialist for the past 12 years. Ms. Kaiser serves on district and state curriculum committees and was recently honored as the 2005 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in Minnesota.

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