Sunday, April 19, 2015

Couch-Potato Kids

Let’s face it: most of us have couch-potato kids.

According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, 2 out of 3 kids are not physically active and spend an average of 7 ½ hours per day with screens.

According to the CDC, over 21% of teenagers are obese.

According to an ESPN article, only 30% of girls and 37% of boys play a sport in high school, and by senior year, only 1 out of 4 are physically active.

My son’s an avid computer gamer. We used to refer to the daily chore of getting him out of his room as “airing him out.”

And like many high-school kids (see the stats, above), he felt intimidated by the idea of “going out for” a sport.

Yet, he found one: swimming.

It’s made a world of difference. He looks better, stands taller, moves better, sleeps and eats better, gets better grades, is happier.

How’d we do it? It was about 95% luck. But we did learn a few things:

1.      It might take many attempts before you find something that clicks. With our kids, we tried gymnastics, soccer, tae kwon do, fencing, football, rugby, hiking, biking and swimming.

2.      The one that clicks could surprise you. I’d have never guessed swimming and rugby (my daughter’s sport).

3.      I thought my husband was being a hard-ass when he kept after the kids to move every day. But if only so they didn’t end up at the gym with Mom or on a bike ride with Dad (the horror), they began seriously considering their options.

4.      The best sports are new (rugby, fencing) and/or underdog ones.

5.      And really, the sport doesn’t matter. It’s the coach. If your kids find a warm, supportive coach, they’ve just won big-time.

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