Children's sports promote fitness. But finding the best sports for your child will depend on many factors, including their age, abilities, and what they’re naturally interested in. It’s good to combine different sports with cycling to help build strength, stamina, and coordination.
- Ages 2 to 5 years: Toddlers and preschoolers are starting to master many basic movements, but they often lack the concentration for most organised sports. For children of this age, unstructured free play is usually best, such as; running, hopping, skipping, jumping, throwing and catching, swimming, and climbing.
- Ages 6 to 9 years: As children develop, their vision, attention span, strength, and coordination improves. And they’re able to follow instructions better. Consider sports and activities such as; football, running, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, badminton, martial arts, dancing, hiking, and skiing.
- Ages 10 to 12 years: At this age, children are ready to take on more complex sports which require skill, tactics, and strategy. Suitable sports include; basketball, football, rugby, hockey, and volleyball.
The main thing is to not concentrate on just one sport. Focusing on a single sport could prevent your child from learning important skills, and experiencing other enjoyable sports. Too much focus on one sport could also lead to stress and burnout. Keep it fun, and try a bit of everything to see what they enjoy.
How can good nutrition help with cycling for kids?
We all know that it can sometimes be a challenge to get our kids to eat enough fruit and veg, but early childhood is an important time to establish healthy eating patterns. A balanced diet is key as it provides children with the nutrients they need to grow. Children should eat three main meals a day, and two healthy snacks from the following food groups; protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, and healthy fats. The following tips can help to teach children healthy eating habits early in life, which will carry on into adulthood:
- Start with breakfast: Kids who enjoy a healthy breakfast every day will get the energy and nutrients they need to fuel for the busy day ahead. Offer eggs, pancakes, low-sugar cereal with milk, Greek yoghurt with fruit, or wholegrain toast with peanut butter.
- Offer a variety of options: Healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables are readily available all year round, and easy to prepare. Children are more likely to try new foods if they are offered to them regularly. Give them a variety of options, and try making a nutritious smoothie as a way of getting more vegetables into their diet.
- Everything in moderation: Cut down on sugary treats, but don’t ban sweets entirely as this could lead to cravings and overindulging when given the chance. And try swapping fizzy drinks for water, or low sugar fruit juice.
- Choose healthy fats: Kids need healthy fats in their diet, and plenty of them. Healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish helps them to stay full for longer, concentrate better, and improves their mood.
- Be a role model: Children watch and copy what their parents do, so lead by example. You can’t expect your little ones to eat their greens while you’re indulging in chocolate.
- Cook meals at home: Takeaways and processed food usually have a lot of added sugar and unhealthy fat, which has a huge impact on your kids’ health. Cooking more meals at home allows you to control what goes into their food.
- Get kids involved: Children love to help and feel grown-up, so let them help you in shopping for groceries and preparing meals. You can teach them about different foods and how to read food labels.
In today’s busy world, parents have less and less time to prepare healthy and home-cooked meals. However, it is important to avoid sugary fizzy drinks, junk food and meals that are high in fat and sugar in the diet of children as often as possible. A healthy, well-balanced diet will give children the nutrients and energy they need to cycle, run, swim, and do a variety of other sports, which will keep them active, and help to avoid obesity in later life.