In the midst of a school year, it's hard to help kids find time for fitness. Come to think of it, it's hard for grown-ups to find the time too.
Dr. Adam Shafran and Lee Kantor offer a bounty of suggestions in "35 Things to Know to Raise Active Kids" (Turner Publishing, $9.99).
Fostering a positive attitude toward physical activity while kids are young, the authors contend, will be a gift they will use throughout their adult lives.
A few suggestions from the authors:
SBlt Active rituals: Developing regularly scheduled activities elevates fitness into an opportunity for family bonding. Among the authors' examples are post-supper walks around the neighborhood, which will encourage conversation as well as exercise, weekend bike rides that wind up with a picnic, and going out for a weekend breakfast -- but walking to the restaurant, not driving.
SBlt Competitive housework: Hey, the chores have to be done, so why not exploit their physical demands and have some fun? Shafran and Kantor suggest writing down the various chores and putting them in a bowl; let everybody in the family select one. Then set a time limit; the whole family cleans as fast as they can for the allotted time. Setting a buzzer adds a bit of drama to the proceedings. Another suggestion, especially for larger tasks such as raking leaves, is to separate the family into teams. (Small prizes can't hurt either.)
SBlt Treasure hunt: Create your own or participate in existing events. Don't limit this to the family, they suggest; invite your children's friends to participate, too: "This activity combines two things kids love to do: figuring out puzzles and competing with their friends."