You can help your child learn that physical activity is fun and good for him by talking with him about the story "Alex Moves His Body." He'll also learn that too many video games or too much TV is unhealthy.
Watch the story together. Then talk with your child about the main messages in the story, highlighted below. We've given you a few questions to steer the conversation as well as suggestions to help your child get moving. Talking about it ahead of time will make it easier the next time you need to get your child to shut off the TV or put down the video games.
You already know the benefits of healthy eating, and you try to eat well. So what's keeping your family from eating high-quality foods -- a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein? And how can you help them eat better?
Here, experts suggest how you can make healthy eating a habit. Plus, they offer tips on how to make it fun for preschoolers, grade-school kids, and teens.
Message: You need to move and play. You don't move and get exercise when you're sitting.
Moving is good for your body. You need to move to get exercise. Exercise is healthy for your body. When you sit to watch TV or play video games your body isn't moving. When you sit to watch or play video games your body doesn't get the exercise it needs. Make a healthy choice and be good to your body by getting up and moving and playing.
What does Alex love to do?
What muscles do you think Alex uses when he plays video games?
How do you feel when you sit for a long time?
What does Alex decide to do instead of play video games?
Parenting Tip: Kids of all ages need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Exercise doesn't have to be structured -- any activity in a child's daily routine that includes getting up and moving counts. Try going for a walk around the block and playing "I Spy." Set up an obstacle course in your house, or play a quick game of tag.
Message: Your body needs exercise to grow strong and be healthy.
Exercise can make your muscles, heart, and bones stronger.
Why does Alex decide to stop sitting and move instead?
What muscles do you think Alex uses when he runs? Jumps? Kicks?
What else could Alex do to move his muscles and make his heart work?
Parenting Tip: When playing and moving, your child's heart will beat faster than normal, and she should breathe harder than normal. Explain to your child how getting up and moving and exercising helps her body. Biking, skating, swimming, push-ups, and tug-of-war help strengthen her heart, lungs, and muscles. Running, hopscotch, and jumping rope build muscle and bone strength, too. Stretching, gymnastics and martial arts enhance flexibility and balance. Your child needs to run, jump, climb, dance, and catch and throw to develop coordination.
Message: Exercise feels good and is fun.
Exercising and moving makes your body strong and healthy. Exercise feels great and can make you feel happy. Moving and playing is fun!
Why does Alex want to move?
How will Alex feel if he moves and plays like Super Guy?
If you weren't playing video games or watching TV, what could you do?
Parenting Tip: Help your child recognize the good ways that exercise makes him feel. When you exercise with him, talk about how good it feels when you move and stretch. Encourage him to feel proud when he sweats or makes his heart pump fast by exercising. Talk about how exercising makes you feel strong. Also, kids are more likely to move when it is their idea, so let your child use his imagination. Free play helps kids develop motor skills and stimulates their creative thinking. Plus, exercise creates endorphins -- chemicals in the brain that trigger happy, calm feelings.