Learn How to Keep Your Kids Mentally and Physically Healthy During CNY Winters Learn How to Keep Your Kids Active During the Winter

Kids can benefit physically and mentally from the proper amount of exercise.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — For the past 15 years America has faced a national obesity crisis. This is within both children and adults. During the Covid-19 lockdown there was a spike in not only in obesity,  but also Type Two diabetes.

As the winter months quickly arrive, society is once again preparing to have limited options on ways to get out of the house. Although this time it’s not because of a pandemic, factors such as lack of motivation, limited resources, and the appealing convenience of technology will still influence kids to stay inside.

SUNY Cortland Professor Dr. Timothy Davis says children at the bare minimum should receive at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day. Not only does this improve their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. Certain exercises or environments can also benefit their sensory needs and anxiety.

An example of one of those environments is a playground.

However, when snow hits the ground and a child’s favorite slide or monkey bars are no longer visible, the fulfillment of those needs vanish.

Dr. Davis says that the best way to keep kids motivated for exercise during the colder months is to have the parents join them.

Here are three ways to stay active inside together:

  • yoga in the living room
  • dancing while doing chores
  • taking the dog for a walk

Parents should also not rely on schools to fulfill their child’s exercises needs. Physical education courses only last about 30-45 minutes on average and only take place usually twice a week. Dr. Davis emphasized the need of physical activity either before or after school.

Beth Robbins is a mom of a three and she keeps her kids active outside of school with indoor soccer and dance classes.

“Physically active is important for them, for both their mind and their body,” said Robbins. “We encourage them to go out and do exercise every single day. It helps their sleep at night.”

Robbins also limits the amount of time her kids can spend using technology each day to about an hour of screen time each. She also has a sensory swing for the kids to use while on their tablets, which helps improve their body’s muscle coordination in relation to their environment.

West Genesee Middle School Physical Education teacher Alexis Abdo-Davis says that sensory-motor skills are critical to child development. The more that kids are aware and comfortable with their surroundings, the more likely they are to explore and learn new things. This is also called physical literacy.

Abdo-Davis utilizes music, different colored equipment, and textured equipment in her classes. She was the 2020 Adapted P.E. Teacher of the Year.

SUNY Cortland offers a sensory-motor lab where both Davis’ work with children. This is an indoor facility that can be rented out to help kids play while building their sensory abilities.

A sensory lab will be opening in Syracuse in Spring.

Relaxation and meditiation post-workout can also be helpful for kids’ minds to reset.

“Typically, at the end of a lesson I like to do some mindfulness,” said Abdo-Davis. “We’re getting more into that too. Just sort of bring them back, calm them down before they go back to class.”

This winter parents should focus on exercising with their child, and enhancing their physical literacy. Doing something together could boost a child’s confidence and motivation. Incorporating music and other sensory-enhancing features will also help.

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