Image for back to school story.
Image for back to school story. Lisa Musico

BACK TO SCHOOL: 5 top tips to keep the kids active

THE start of a new school year means the start of new habits and routines for many families.

Children exchange hours of bike riding, swimming and playing with friends for hours of sitting in the classroom, or often, in front of screens.

Yet keeping children active throughout the year is essential, so it's important for parents and teachers to take steps to get kids moving throughout each day.

Being physically active is good for children's health, and creates opportunities for making new friends and developing physical and social skills.

Fitting enough exercise into the day may seem difficult at times, so Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan shared five tips to help parents, guardians and teachers make physical activity a natural part of the school year.

Here are five top tips:

1. Find new ways to increase activity

Children spend a lot of sedentary time in the classroom, but it's important to offset this.

Find ways to break up the day with bursts of fun exercise.

For example park the car a block away from school and walk the last part with your child, or encourage them to run around and play at lunchtime.

2. Try out a sport or active hobby

Allow children to choose the type of activity they are interested in or from a few options.

It could be a team sport at school, such as soccer, football or netball, or a class like dance or martial arts after school.

Teachers and parents can introduce basic sporting skills from a young age, such as ball throwing, skipping and jumping so they feel more confident across a range of activities.

3. Make exercise a family activity

The entire family could go for a bike ride, take a walk around the neighbourhood before dinner, or head to a local park to shoot a few hoops or kick a ball to get children moving after a day in the classroom.

4. Restrict tech time

Keep screen time to less than two hours each day.

If children have spent a considerable amount of time on screens in the classroom, why not switch off at home and find new, active ways to get busy.

5. Model good behaviour

Lace up those running shoes, do stretches or hop on the bike to show children that you participate in physical activity yourself and enjoy it.

Both teachers and parents can be a positive role model for healthy habits.

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