Keeping Your Children Active

Warm weather is a great time to encourage your children to be physically active and get them involved in healthy activities. UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh offers the following tips to help families stay active:

  • When the weather is warm, encourage your children to play outside. Set an example by venturing outdoors yourself by taking a walk, working in the garden or just playing with your children. Family bike rides or hikes are a great way to spend time together. Use the opportunity to talk to your children and to find out what’s going on in their lives.
  • Remember to wear your helmets when bike riding or riding scooters. Prevention is the key to avoiding serious injuries, and when you wear a helmet you let your children know how important it is for them to wear them too.
  • Limit the amount of time your kids watch TV and interact with computer and video games. When the weather is conducive to outdoor activities, let your children know they will only be allowed to use these forms of media for limited periods of time. We recommend limiting media use to no more than one to two hours per day.
  • Reduce the number of extracurricular activities you schedule for your children. Children need time to just relax and interact with their friends and family. If you’re driving your kids from one activity to the next every day, there is little time for children to enjoy the fresh air and to contemplate life.
  • Children learn to entertain themselves and to think on their own when they have some quiet time alone. Give them regular opportunities to read and enjoy some downtime. Children should not be dependent on parents or caregivers to keep them busy. Limiting activities also reduces stress on parents and children, and the less stress you feel the better your interactions will be with one another.
  • Playgrounds and parks are great places to venture when the sun shines. Children benefit from unstructured play, and they learn to interact with other children around them. Letting children run around outside gives them an outlet for their abundant energy.
  • Mealtimes provide wonderful opportunities to spend time together as a family. Plan an occasional picnic outing with your children. Special outings create happy memories for you and your kids, and when you spend time with your children they feel more loved and secure.

For more parenting tips or to find out about free parenting classes in your area, call Children’s Community Education Department at 412-692-7105.