Do This One Thing Today: Take a Walk with Your Child
Your typical weekday is already packed with work, making meals, taking care of the house, running errands, and more. But you should still try to squeeze in one more item: taking a walk in the evening with your son or daughter. Walking together—even for just 15 minutes—gives you both a chance to get away from your phones, TV, homework, the dishes, and all of the other distractions of daily life and gives you a chance to check in on how the other is doing.
All parents know that limiting screen time for their kids is healthy, but it can be tough to figure out exactly how to do that. Offering up an alternative activity, like going on a walk, is an easy way to power down electronics. Take that opportunity to find out what’s going on in your kid’s life. Don’t just say “How was school today?” Instead, ask how soccer practice went or what the worst part of the day was. Since you are walking and looking ahead, your child might feel more comfortable and be likelier to open up to you. The time together will also improve your child’s self-esteem and confidence. The more alone time a kid has with his or her parents, the better they feel about themselves.
And the benefits aren’t just emotional or mental. Walking counts towards the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week that will improve the health of you and your child. In fact, exercise is especially important for kids. It helps keep them in a healthy weight, improves test scores, gives them more energy and helps them sleep better.
This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan
Photo credit: Dominique van Loo