It’s official: it’s January, the kids are about to return to school, and things are slowly getting back to normal in the aftermath of the festive party season.

 

And much as we do love Christmas, most mums will admit that taking down the decorations and sorting through everything is a breath of fresh air too.

 

We also reckon that now is the perfect time to get your kids moving. In fact, 2017 should be the year that the whole family becomes more active.

 

Because these days, babies, toddlers, and school-going children, tweens, and teens all spend a lot of time strapped into car seats or plopped in front of screens.

 

 

The stats aren’t encouraging either: one in every four kids in Ireland is overweight or obese. And four out of five don’t get the recommended daily exercise target of 60 minutes, according to Safefood.

 

Don’t worry about hitting the gym, signing up for formal classes, or paying for indoor play zones. All those things are great, of course, but there are more subtle ways to improve overall health. Indeed, there are lots of simple, cost-efficient activities that mums, dads, and kids can get involved in.

 

Here are our top seven tips:

 

 

1. Go for a daily walk:

 

Make this an essential part of your routine for your walking-age kids – even a 15minute walk around the neighbourhood before or after dinner adds up over the course of a week. It’s a good opportunity to chat to them about their day too.

 

2. Dance:

 

If it’s bucketing rain out or you have buggy-aged small ones, cranking up a few of their (and your!) favourite tunes and dancing in the sitting room is a great way to work up a sweat. Older children will enjoy putting together routines and concerts too.

 

 

3. Make it a game:

 

Hoovering, washing up, dusting, folding laundry, and sweeping leaves – it all counts towards your daily exercise target. So make up games together and get them involved.

 

 

4. Think outside the box:

 

A two year is well able to walk to the local shop and back (even if it does take a little longer). Toddlers don’t have to be automatically plonked in a trolley either at the supermarket either. And take the stairs rather than the lift – counting as you climb. Don’t forget to take the bus, train or tram rather than drive whenever you can.

 

5. Get gardening:

 

Most older children love to get to work in the garden – and all that lugging around heavy bags, turning soil, and pulling at branches is a great workout from them too.

 

 

6. Plan more days out:

 

Use the weekends to climb a mountain, visit a forest, or go for a walk on the beach.

 

7. Be prepared:

 

Keep a ball, skipping rope, and/or hula hoop by the door and make sure to pop outside for ten minutes of play whenever you can – if you have to go rooting in the shed for an item you’ll be far less inclined to do so. 

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