Parents Influence Children's Activity Levels

When adults are involved in children's play, young girls are more likely to join in vigorous outdoor activity, and kids are more likely to cross gender barriers in the activities they choose. Parents can make a difference in how children play.

A new study by Melpomene Institute in St. Paul found that lines on the playground are usually drawn by gender. Boys play organized ball games and dominate the blacktop, where they develop sports skills such as kicking, catching, and throwing. However, most girls are not getting vigorous physical activity on the playing field. Overall, girls are less active than boys and play simpler games of a more social nature. Often, girls who want to play more organized games are uncertain of the rules. But, when adults are involved in the activity, girls join in.

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Parents can encourage active play for all by finding activities their children are good at and enjoy; practicing basic skills with their children; emphasizing fun; praising improvement; and by making sure girls are included in active play.

Physical activity improves health, strength and coordination, leadership skills, and confidence. Adult involvement encourages all kids to be active.

 
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