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Babysitters: We do anything but “sit”

29 Jan

As a babysitter, I find the name “babysitter” to be a bit confusing. I find myself doing anything but sitting and I think anyone with little ones running around knows what I mean. They are constant little balls of energy and that energy needs to be channeled into something productive or it may drive you crazy.

Children need at least 1 hour of active and vigorous play every day in order to grow up to a healthy weight. Children between the ages of 8-18 sped an average of 8 hours per day on media such as TV, computer, video games, etc.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here are some basic guidelines for physical activity in children:

1. Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.

2. Muscle Strengthening

Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.

3. Bone Strengthening

Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.

How do I know if my child’s aerobic activity is moderate or vigorously intensive?

Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigorous-intensity:

  1. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your son does moderate-intensity activity, his heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your son does vigorous-intensity activity, his heart will beat much faster than normal and he will breathe much harder than normal.
  2. Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she’s probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she’s probably doing vigorous-intensity activity.

Want examples?
Check out Aerobic, muscle- and bone-strengthening: what counts?

What do you mean by “age appropriateness”?

Some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.

Tips on Getting Children Active

Find out more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Making Physical Activity a Part of a Child’s Life
How is it possible for you child to meet the Guidelines? What can you do to get your child active? Find out here!

I hope this is helpful to you. Today is such a beautiful day and it looks like this nice weather will stick around for a while. Get outside with your kids, don’t just “sit”, BE ACTIVE!!!

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