SingaporeMotherhood | Preschooler & Up

February 2012

Be Active! Get Your Child Off the Couch!

The time which our children spend running around and playing at the playground has given way to watching television, playing video and computer games. However, it is not too late to get them moving and parents should encourage more time on physical activity. Physical activity is especially important for your child’s growth and development, helping them to:

• Build strong bones and muscles
• Develop important motor skills
• Enhance self esteem

It is therefore important to nurture an interest in leading an active lifestyle from young. Leading an active lifestyle as a family can be a strong motivation for your child to be active. Don’t just ‘talk’ activity, you need to ‘walk the talk’ and show your child how fun it is to stay active.


One way to increase your child’s activity level is to limit his/her screen time – this refers to the time spent watching television, playing video games or even hand-held games. Not only do these prevent them from engaging in physical activities, it is also not very good for their eyes!

Young children are naturally active and they enjoy active free play where they can choose what they want to do – run, hop, balance, skip or play ball in a safe and supervised environment. So, encourage them and provide them with the opportunity to engage in these activities and it will go a long way for them.

Parents have to keep safety concerns in mind and set limits when engaging your child in physical activity since he/she is still developing balance, coordination skills and lacks ability to judge what is safe or dangerous.

You play a crucial role. Help your child get started on an active lifestyle from young and there is a greater chance that he/she will continue to be physically active later on in life. Take these steps and make physical activity part of your family routine!

• Let your child try out different games and sports and find one which he/she enjoys.

• Make it fun. You can even put your child in charge and let him/her choose an activity to play. The most important part is to do something active together.

• Keep moving! Limit the amount of time your child spends on “non-active” activities such as watching television, playing computer games and hand-held games, to no more than two hours a day.

• Allocate time for physical fun every day. It could be something as simple as a walk in the park or a visit to the neighbourhood playground. Make weekend outings an active affair for the family. This will provide the child and yourself with a dose of physical activity and also provide an opportunity to bond! Start small and gradually add new activities to the routine.

• Praise your child for making the effort to engage in an active lifestyle.

• Select gifts and rewards that encourage physical activity such as a bicycle, a hula hoop, balls and kites. These items can provide endless hours of fun physical activity for your child and family.

• Set a good example and participate enthusiastically in different types of physical activities with your child. Get the whole family involved and be active!

Healthy habits form early. Start young and set the foundation for a lifetime of good health. And as parents, let’s set a healthy example! For more information on how you can help your child cultivate healthy habits, log on to

This article is a contribution from the Health Promotion Board.

All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeMotherhood.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram for the latest article and promotion updates.

Be Active! Get Your Child Off the Couch!