The children are home for the longest holiday of the school year. While at school they get a chance to engage in school mandated extracurricular activities, there is potential to become sofa-bound during the holiday as they catch up on their favourite TV shows. To avoid this, parents should find physical activities to keep the children more active.
Provide play materials
Winfred Sande, a mother reminds parents who plan to send their children upcountry to spend time with grandparents, to pack for them playing materials such as skipping ropes, balls and bicycles to ride so that they can stretch their muscles. “When children are up-country, they are safer and have more playing space compared to other holidays when they are in urban centres confined in perimeter fences. They get time to play different games with children from the neighbourhood, run around hills and climb trees,” Sande says.
“These playing materials act as centres of attraction to other children. The more they get together, the more fitness activities they will be innovative at and engage in,” Sande adds.
For this holiday, Paul Kayemba is sending his three children upcountry and will, join them with his wife, Irene Kayemba on Christmas.
“I provide them with all the play material they need because they love sports. When I let them play the way they want, they enjoy it better than the gym,” Kayemba explains.
Paul Luguza, a parent says every time he gets on the floor or gym to do push-ups, his children join him. “At first, I used to stop them from doing push-ups but as time went by, I realised it helps keep them physically fit. I also sometimes run around the compound with them to keep their bodies and muscles active,” Luguza says.
Julius Gayira, a fitness expert at Fitness 256 says that holidays are the best time to help your children explore their non-academic potential and talents through different sports activities. “You can choose to take them for swimming lessons because it helps them strengthen their arms and legs joints and bones by keeping them in motion under water. Swimming also tones down their muscles and maintain their weight especially for those that are overweight,” Gayira says, adding that it also increases their heartbeat, which boosts blood flow in their bodies.
As you keep your children fit, Gayira advises that you need to be mindful of a particular sport or activity they are passionate about and strive to grow their fitness around it. “If your child loves basketball, do not be against the sport because of its effects such as using a lot of energy and sustaining body injuries.
Create a mini-basketball court at home and ask them to invite their friends whom they know love the same sport. When they are ready to learn, invite a trainer to take them through different sessions of learning how to play the sport. You could meet the training costs when you get in touch with parents or guardians of your child’s friends if you feel it may be costly for you alone,” Gayira advises.
For younger children, he says bicycle riding could be another fun sport you can teach them to keep them fit. “The only investment is in buying a strong and durable bicycle. Bicycle riding helps children develop body stamina and balance. It also helps them build muscles and strength in their legs since they are the body parts that are most active and uses a lot of energy when peddling,” Gayira notes.