Although summer is long gone, that does not mean children should be stuck indoors on the couch. Video games may be quick, easy and tempting, but there are more beneficial – and healthier – ways for your children to pass the time.
1) Find indoor facilities. Indoor pools, basketball courts or ice skating rinks are all great examples of places where your kids can have fun and move around. Children can sign up for hockey or basketball leagues, or take swimming lessons.
The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is one great place that offers opportunities for families to get active indoors. In addition to swimming, basketball, an indoor track, and group exercise classes, the Y also offers a holiday camp, a full-day recreational program where counselors engage campers in games, sports, and other physical activities to keep kids moving.
“With childhood obesity rates on the rise, keeping kids healthy and active year round has never been more important. Cold winter months can make a healthy lifestyle even harder for families to maintain,” Godwin said. She recommends indoor facilities like the Y to keep kids active.
500 E Morehead St., Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28202
2) If you are a member of a gym, take your children with you for a session. Pilates, yoga, and aerobics are not just fun for you, they are great for the whole family.
The Sports & Fitness Clubs in Charlotte offer 24-hour service at seven locations around Charlotte. It offers multiple types of group fitness, including pilates, yoga, zumba and kickboxing, all of which would be enjoyable for kids and adults alike. If your children are too young to participate in the group sessions, there is also a “Childwatch” section where you can drop your kids off to play.
1001 Morehead Square
Charlotte, NC 28203
3) A free and simple way to get your children’s heart rate up is simply skipping the elevator or escalator and taking the stairs instead. It may sound easy, but several flights of stairs is some great easy exercise (for you and your kids). Godwin also recommends giving your children a pedometer and creating a game out of seeing who took the most steps in one day.
The SouthPark Mall is one great location with over 150 businesses. It is a climate-controlled indoor mall, and is the 10th largest on the East Coast, so it will give you plenty of walking space.
4400 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
4) If the weather is nice, encourage your children to go outside. Winter can be a great time to play in the great outdoors – sledding, snowboarding, building snowmen and more. Wintry days can create wonderful childhood memories! If you live in a more suburban area, Godwin recommends that you can organize large group games like touch football, kickball, or basketball with your family or friends in the neighborhood.
“Fortunately, in North Carolina, outdoor activities can be a year-round opportunity. Parents can bundle up youngsters and play basketball or walk on the Greenway. Take a family walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights,” commented Godwin.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Greenways are 37 miles of developed and 150 miles of undeveloped open land that provide recreation and fitness for you and your children. With such moderate temperatures this winter, you can bundle your kids in jackets and take a walk to observe the view. One greenway is below. For more, click the link.
2100 North Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
5) Limit television, computer or video game time – and stick to it. If children think they can sit in front of a screen all day, they will. Setting firm limits and sticking to them will help your kids find more creative things to do.
“When it is too cold outside, play games on the Wii that get bodies moving or have a dance contest,” said Godwin.
Need a Wii? You can pick up a used one from one of the many GameStops around Charlotte for a deal. Some of the best games to keep kids active include “‘Star Wars': The Clone Wars,” “‘High School Musical 3′: Senior Year Dance” and “We Ski & Snowboard.”
3220 Wilkinson Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28208
Keeping your children active in the winter months is essential to healthy, happy families. Use these tips to motivate your kids to get moving this winter!