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Obesity in children has been a concern for some time now and is quickly becoming a global issue as technology is becoming ever more readily available. Where video games were more of a novelty with past generations, or at least a day out at the games arcade, they are now a way of life. Whats more is that where once the alternatives were sports or meeting friends they are now Instagram and other online pursuits. In a world in which enjoyment is found on the screen how can we encourage our kids to exercise? We feel the answers lie with you, the parents and from abroad, where some countries have had to battle issues regarding space and a penchant for video games already.

Now we dont want to preach as this technology has its benefits. It can bring people who are far apart closer together, give us information on tap and it can give us light entertainment when we are at a loose end. Nor do we want to give far-fetched unobtainable advice that WE KNOW you have already tried. Instead, we will offer some simple and realistic alternatives that we feel will actually get children interested in, and playing sports. Sometimes a first step can really lead somewhere!

City Sports

racket and ball on tennis table

Firstly we look to China! A huge country with over a billion inhabitants, millions of football fans, so why dont we see a successful footballing nation? The answer lies in its inaccessibility. Most city dwellers have to live in apartment buildings and full sized football pitches are rare. So what sports have come to the fore? Table tennis, volleyball, badminton, basketball! We may not have heard of the same sports starts they have but they are huge in their country. We have three suggestions, varying in the ease with which you can enforce them.

MORE DIFFICULT

Actually start family days out at the local leisure centre! It could be a day during the week after work or a day on the weekend. This would be good for you too and there is no excuse not to engage in a game such as table tennis or badminton.

LESS DIFFICULT

If you have a spare room you could buy a small table tennis or pool table. The main problem with this is space, but if possible many children would find excitement in a game of pool or table tennis with their parents or friends. The real thing has to beat a games console, and it could be there at your disposal!

EASY

Now if you dont have time, funds or space to embark upon one of our previous suggestions, we have another solution. Mini basketball hoops are already a staple bedroom accessory in the USA and China and it is an incredibly simple and affordable option. If you have one already you will know how difficult it is to walk past the balls and resist a shot at the hoop, and then usual difficult to stop! This should cost you around £25, introduce your child to a new sports and improve hand-eye co-ordination.

Look at Ourselves

boy feeding a animal during daytime

Ask yourself these questions: Could I be more proactive and take more time cooking healthy food? Have I taught my children to cook? For many of us, (myself included) we could definitely do more. Getting your children into the kitchen with you not only prises your children away from their games console but teaches them valuable life lessons.

Think about what you have on TV. Play more sports and take that competitive attitude we know they have online into the sporting environment.

Go for more family days out. We appreciate this can be difficult in this country but days out at the zoo, amusement park or even just the local park can be a regular and way to encourage exercise and family interaction. Take the football, rugby ball, cricket set or even basketball!

We feel these are easy ways to improve your childrens activity and perhaps just as importantly, bring your family together. Please let us know your thoughts and any other suggestions you might have.