Be in the run­ning for hol­i­days full of fun

Olympic ath­lete Jo Pavey tells LISA SAL­MON her top tips for keep­ing kids busy this sum­mer break

Gloucestershire Echo - - FAMILY MATTERS -

DE­SPITE most chil­dren long­ing for time off school, six weeks of sum­mer hol­i­days all too of­ten rapidly lead to cries of: “I’m bored!” Sound fa­mil­iar? As a mum-of-two, Olympic ath­lete Jo Pavey knows this sce­nario first-hand. But she’s keen to high­light how keep­ing kids en­ter­tained over sum­mer can also be a great op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age them to be more ac­tive, along with the rest of the fam­ily too – some­thing Jo and her hus­band Gavin con­sider cen­tral to fam­ily life.

“As a par­ent, it’s great to aim to be a good role model for your chil­dren by be­ing ac­tive your­self,” says Jo, 45, who has joined forces with Sim­ply­health (sim­ply­health.co.uk) to inspire fam­i­lies to get on board with the idea.

“I en­joy show­ing my chil­dren that it’s fun to be ac­tive, and I feel it helps them as­so­ciate it with a happy and healthy life.

“Get­ting ac­tive to­gether as a fam­ily is so much fun. It’s a great way to spend qual­ity fam­ily time to­gether, while keep­ing fit and healthy,” adds Jo, mum to Jacob, nine, and five-yearold Emily.

Of course, no one can be ac­tive all the time, so Deena Billings, head of child­care at Busy Bees nurs­eries, has joined the cam­paign too, with ad­di­tional sug­ges­tions for keep­ing young­sters en­ter­tained all sum­mer.

Here are some ideas Jo and Deena:

“WHEN I head out run­ning, in­stead of go­ing alone, we reg­u­larly go to beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions as a fam­ily,” says Jo. “My hus­band and I run, and our son and daugh­ter love whizzing along on their bikes. They’ll of­ten

Get the whole fam­ily ac­tive

do a lit­tle bit of run­ning as well. We make it part of a fun day out by tak­ing a pic­nic and stay­ing around after to mess around on bikes or in the play park, and we of­ten head down to the beach too.”

Keep it fun

JO stresses that if par­ents want chil­dren to get ac­tive, it’s im­por­tant for them to be hav­ing a good time.

“It’s so im­por­tant that they don’t think of be­ing ac­tive as a chore, oth­er­wise they could find ex­er­cis­ing a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. Whether you’re all ac­tive to­gether as a fam­ily or they’re do­ing a club, it’s im­por­tant for them to be tak­ing part in some­thing they en­joy,” she says.

Tell them how well they’re do­ing

“AL­WAYS give praise when your child has made a good choice for their health and fit­ness, like be­ing keen to take part in ac­tiv­ity, and when they’ve been en­thu­si­as­tic,” adds Jo. “It’s im­por­tant for them to un­der­stand that the main thing you’re in­ter­ested in is that they’re en­joy­ing them­selves.”

En­ter an event to­gether

“TAK­ING part in some­thing to­gether is great fun and good for fam­ily bond­ing,” says Jo. “We re­cently took part in the Sim­ply­health Great Bris­tol Fam­ily Run.

“Our kids ab­so­lutely loved it, they re­ally seemed to soak up the pos­i­tive at­mos­phere.

“It was up­lift­ing to see so many fam­i­lies run­ning to­gether and en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Be creative

JO says it’s lovely to en­joy ac­tiv­i­ties in the gar­den or lo­cal park to­gether, so why not try ball games, tag or fris­bee? An­other fun idea is to make up ob­sta­cle cour­ses or trea­sure hunts.

GET the kids in­volved

ASK the chil­dren what they’re in­ter­ested in and if there are any new ac­tiv­i­ties they’d like to try.

“Ask them to sug­gest ac­tiv­i­ties

that the fam­ily could do to­gether,” Jo urges. “It’s nice for chil­dren to feel like they’re con­tribut­ing to mak­ing de­ci­sions on ways that the fam­ily can en­joy be­ing ac­tive.”

Make time to rest

DEENA points out that downtime is as im­por­tant as phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“Fun and games are ex­cit­ing for chil­dren, but it can of­ten leave them feel­ing tired and grumpy at the end of the day so make sure they get all the time-out they need, too.”

Stop tum­mies rum­bling

CON­SIS­TENCY is key in keep­ing chil­dren con­tent, but it’s easy for this to fal­ter over the sum­mer, par­tic­u­larly if you’re on hol­i­day.

“Keep­ing them fed, rested and in line with home rou­tines wher­ever pos­si­ble will make life eas­ier for ev­ery­one, espe­cially with younger chil­dren,” says Deena.

“Try­ing to get them out and about when they would nor­mally be tuck­ing into their lunch is go­ing to make them ir­ri­ta­ble. By stick­ing to your rou­tine sched­ule for meals, you’ll help curb tantrums trig­gered by hunger.”

Plan ac­tiv­i­ties

FOR a stress-free ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s a good idea to plan and or­gan­ise ac­tiv­i­ties ahead of time.

“There’s noth­ing worse than young chil­dren get­ting ex­cited about a day trip, only to be dis­ap­pointed when the tick­ets are all sold out,” says Deena.

Cre­at­ing a sim­ple sched­ule also means you can or­gan­ise a mix of fun-filled and more re­laxed days, which will help keep ev­ery­one in good spir­its.

Why not do some re­search on­line to­gether, so your child can see pic­tures of where they’ll be visit­ing?

Jo Pavey, left, keeps ac­tive with her fam­ily, above

Try tak­ing a bike ride in the coun­try­side

Keep hunger at bay with reg­u­lar snacks Be­ing ac­tive can boost your well­be­ing

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