How to help children stay active while home-schooling

Jason Eaton

Jason Eaton offers tips on exercising at home with children. - Credit: Cadbury House

Children, Home Schooling and Exercise

Covid-19 presents many challenges and anxieties.

For parents and carers of school-aged children, daily lives are barely recognisable. We are attempting to juggle work, life and schooling from home, while trying to keep everyone happy.

The benefits of physical activity for young people are widely recognised, and during lockdown, moving more and sitting less is very important to help families maintain physical and mental health.

Being confined to home means that young people, who are used to school PE, after school activities, active travel, organised sport and outdoor play, have to find a ‘new normal’.

Football team legs

Children have to find a 'new normal' for exercising without PE and sports clubs. - Credit: Pixabay

Screen use, which is mainly sedentary, has increased because of the switch to online education, entertainment and ‘babysitting’ services for overstretched parents.

Today, we focus on why encouraging our children to move more and sit less (if they can) is a priority at this trying time. We deliberately focus on being inside, although if guidelines allow, getting outside is hugely beneficial.

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Young people ideally should accumulate 60 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity a day. This can involve lots of short bouts of physical activity and a range of intensities.


Young people ideally should accumulate 60 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity a day. - Credit: Pixabay

Over the week, activities should include some that stress muscles and bones (like yoga and jumping) and some to help promote movement skill (involving balance, coordination and body awareness).

These guidelines are based on evidence that more active young people have better health outcomes, including cardiovascular and bone health, muscle fitness and weight status.

There is also evidence that increased physical activity is associated with enhanced mental health, improved cognitive (mental) function, aspects of self-esteem, and reduced depressive symptoms in young people.

As with adults, immediate benefits of each bout of activity may include reduced anxiety and a ‘feel good’ effect.


Activity ideas: games and yoga

Although there is limited evidence about the benefits of specific home-based activities for young people, any activity that gets your child moving is beneficial.

Home gym

Any activity that gets children moving is beneficial. - Credit: PIxabay

Activity ideas include playing traditional playground games indoors (e.g. hide and seek, tag, skipping), dancing to music, and getting creative (e.g. building an obstacle course, playing balloon volleyball, making an action movie or learning to juggle).

Yoga has a range of positive benefits for young people and everyone can do it at home.

Boy on scooter

Try a few different activities and alternate them to keep young people interested. - Credit: Pixabay

them to keep young people interested. While 60 minutes a day is ideal, it may not always be achievable. Just remember that any opportunity to move more and sit less is good.

To help, Jason and his team have now created a number of exercise classes that can be found on YouTube. The first features trainers Debi and Scott who go through a HIIT workout perfect for a wide range of fitness levels.

To take part simply click on the You Tube link to stay fit at home during lockdown:

The team are also running regular Facebook Live sessions for yoga, LBT and weighted classes, so anyone who wants ideas or motivation can get expert help and guidance by logging on and getting involved. Just follow the Facebook page and look out for details on the latest sessions.

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