COVID-19 Updates


Top Tips To Improve Your Child’s Physical Activity


In an effort to encourage children’s activity levels, we’re sharing some tips on how to help your child get active

The Participaction Annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada. In 2020, Canadian children received a “D+” grade for Overall Physical Activity. In an effort to encourage children’s activity levels, we’re sharing some tips on how to help your child get active. These tips were developed in consultation with Emma Ostermeier, a local Western PhD candidate who focuses on physical activity initiatives for children.
To achieve healthy childhood growth and development, children need sufficient physical activity. Physical activity has many benefits on children, including improving physical health, brain health and mood.
However, we know that COVID-19 and past restrictions such as the closure of schools and parks, and the cancellation of youth sports caused physical activity levels among children to decrease. As we recover from the effects of COVID-19 it’s important that we encourage children to get up and active. Parents play an important role in encouraging this so here’s how you can up your family’s Participaction Game:
Tip #1: Educate children on the importance of physical activity

Helping children discover the joy of getting active and finding activities they like early on can set a good foundation for healthy activity habits as they progress through life. It can also make it  easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood when physical activity habits have been established in childhood. To educate your child on the importance of physical activity, you can refer to the 2020 Participaction Report and encourage them to read the report for more information. Or, depending on their age, you can sit down with your child and read the report together!
Tip #2: Figure out what activities your child gets the most enjoyment from

All children are different and have their own unique interests. Through trial and error, parents can figure out what activities their child enjoys best and get them the most active. It takes time, patience and experimenting to figure out what activity is best for each child, but there are activities for everyone. Introduce your child to different activities and then talk to them about what they enjoy best and why
For example, some children may enjoy participating in social activities that incorporate teamwork and problem solving skills like organized sports. Other children may enjoy activities they can do alone or with a parent like a walk, a bike ride or jump rope. Some children may be motivated by the incorporation of music so try having a 30 minute dance party!
Tip #3: Find activities that your family can do together
Children are more engaged in physical activity when they participate with others so try getting the whole family active together! There are many family based activities you can participate in, such as family walks, bike rides or basketball. Family activities provide opportunities to bond as a family and also have social and mental health benefits for you and your child.
Children want to be out doing things but sometimes need their parents' help in facilitating activities for them to engage in. What’s most important is that parents give their children the guidance and support they need to be active in all the ways they enjoy.
To learn more about the importance of physical activity among children and how to encourage activity, please read the Participaction Report.
Note: this article contains information sourced from a local subject matter expert and Physical activity: Benefits of exercise for health and wellbeing.