With many schools opting out of organized sports in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are looking at a long winter with kids at home immediately after school, or possibly home 24/7 if your district has gone remote. This can make it difficult to keep athletes excited about practicing their sport or staying active in general. But it’s not impossible!
Think laterally about movement right now: Aim to keep your young athlete as active as possible, rather than focusing on sport-specific intensive practice regimens. Remember, the CDC recommends that kids between 6 and 17 get at least one hour each day of moderate to vigorous activity, and that they’re doing some type of bone-strengthening and muscle building activities (like running and push-ups, respectively) three days a week. How can you make that happen?
Here are a few ideas to keep kids active, even in the winter months and without organized sports.
Set ‘outside hours’
With very little daylight during non-school hours, it’s easy to go for days at a time without getting outside. To avoid this, look at the sunrise and sunset times and set an 'outside hour' (or 30 minutes) as often as possible. Some weeks that might mean before-school outside time, and other weeks, it might be easier to light up the backyard or go to a well-lit park for some movement. On less structured weekend days, make sure that your young athletes are getting out in the sun and fresh air whenever possible.
Find or create a community
Maybe your child’s team is already doing some virtual training together that makes this option simple, but your athlete can also take creating a virtual community into their own hands by reaching out to active friends or teammates. They may not be able to hold practices together, but they can all follow a similar practice schedule and do some workouts together via Zoom or Facetime. Depending on where you live, they may even be able to gather in small groups for outdoor training time.