As your children return to school after the summer holidays it is really important to help to encourage them to get back into their normal routine and the incorporate exercise into their day. However, there are several barriers that children may face when it comes to staying active, especially in the context of returning to school.
1. Limited Time
One of the primary barriers to children getting enough exercise is a lack of time. With the demands of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and homework, finding time for physical activity can be a challenge. To address this barrier, schools and parents can work together to prioritize physical education and allocate sufficient time for breaks and structured physical activities during the school day.
2. Sedentary School Environment
Many schools have environments that promote sedentary behaviour, such as long hours of sitting in classrooms and limited opportunities for movement during the school day. To reduce this, schools can implement active learning strategies, like incorporating movement into lessons, providing standing desks, and encouraging short breaks for physical activity.
3. Lack of Access to Facilities
Some children may not have access to safe and well-maintained facilities for physical activity, such as parks, sports fields, or gyms. To overcome this barrier, schools can partner with local organizations and governments to improve access to recreational facilities and promote community engagement in physical activities. You could also think about joining a free afterschool club like football or netball.
4. Screen Time and Technology
The rise of screen time and technology can be a significant barrier to physical activity. Children are increasingly drawn to video games, social media, and streaming content, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Schools and parents should set limits on screen time, encourage outdoor play, and promote active video games or fitness apps that combine technology with exercise.
5. Lack of Motivation
Some children may struggle with motivation when it comes to exercise. This barrier can be addressed by making physical activity fun and engaging. Schools can offer a variety of activities, such as dance classes, sports teams, and group fitness challenges, to cater to different interests and preferences. By making exercising a social thing, this will help to motivate your children if they get to see their friends too.
6. Peer Pressure and Body Image Concerns
As children transition back to school, peer pressure and body image concerns can discourage some from participating in physical activities. It's essential to create a supportive and inclusive environment where every child feels comfortable participating, regardless of their body shape or fitness level. Schools can promote body positivity and provide opportunities for diverse forms of physical activity.
Returning back to school presents an opportunity to address the barriers that children face when it comes to exercise. By prioritizing physical education, creating active learning environments, and encouraging a supportive atmosphere, schools and parents can help children overcome these obstacles and lead healthier, more active lives. Exercise not only contributes to physical fitness but also enhances cognitive function, reduces stress, and improves overall well-being. By addressing these barriers, we can set our children on a path to a healthier and happier future. Small changes like adding daily habits such as walking to school instead of driving contribute to this positive change.