They’re sending their kids to school to learn reading, writing and math skills, but 92 percent of parents say physical and health education is just as important. This is just one of the findings of a national survey that reveals parents are overwhelmingly in support of making schools healthier by providing more opportunities for physical activity and offering more nutritious foods to students.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation study surveyed 600 parents of children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. It found that 98 percent of parents say schools should offer opportunities for exercise and physical activity throughout the day, whether its with gym class, recess or afterschool programs.
They’re even willing to get involved. According to the survey, 8 out of 10 dads and moms say they are ready to help make healthy changes in their children’s schools.
Fathers can get involved by volunteering to coach a sport or planning a group relay race at their kids’ schools.
Work with your children’s teachers on ways to incorporate exercise into their lessons. For instance, offer to accompany the class on a nature hike to identify trees as a part of a science lesson or to collect rocks to use for a math lesson.
One of the most important parenting tips for helping your children stay active is to be active yourself. "You are a role model for your children; set a good example by making physical activity a priority in your life," advises the Mayo Clinic’s Dr Edward Laskowski.
If you’re not already an exerciser, help your children realize the importance of being physically fit together. Start off slowly taking walks, raking leaves or playing a game of soccer together. Make goals on the amount of time you’ll spend being active together and increase your activity levels as you progress.