Children were born to be active. It is their natural state. As parents and caregivers, it is up to us to not only encourage activity, but find ways to incorporate it in a daily routine. This post looks to answer the question, why it’s important to keep children active.
Decreases Screen Time
When your child is active, it means that they are not inactive. This sounds intuitive, but is still important to remember. If you child is playing it means that they are definitely not sitting passively in front of a screen. And we can all agree that too much screen time is not a good thing.
The more opportunities you make to keep children active children means that the less opportunities they have to watch TV or YouTube. It means that children are engaging in fun, exciting games and are able to participate in the world around them.
Converts Calories to Energy, not Fat
Unfortunately, there is a rising rate of obesity in children. The easiest way to prevent children from becoming obese, and more importantly, unhealthy, is to keep them active. Being active should be fun for children. It should be engaging. Playing tag, or chase, or kicking a ball are all easy ways to keep active and as a result, maintain a healthy weight.
Whatever food we eat is either converted to energy or to fat. If we are active, food becomes energy to keep us going. If we are inactive, food becomes fat. Children should be given nutritious meals, but they should also be allowed to eat birthday cake and cookies at Grandma’s. If children have the chance to be regularly active, then what they eat does not have to be rigidly monitored.
Improves Sleep and Mental Health
When children are active, they sleep better. All of their extra energy is spent, and they can go to bed in a calmer state. This is not to suggest that a rousing game of tag should be played immediately before bedtime. This will actually create too much excitement. Rather, activity should be spread out through the day so that by the time night rolls around, your child is ready to crawl into bed.
Most physical activity by children is creative play. Through creative play, children are given the opportunity to act out new concepts in a safe way. As a result, children who are active often have better mental health. Worries don’t have the opportunity to manifest into bigger dilemmas because play has enabled children to work through anxieties.
Sleep and mental health go hand in hand. If a child doesn’t have big worries at night, it is easier for them to fall asleep. And better sleep leads to better mental health.