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Once the tests and exams are over, it’s time for a holiday! In Singapore, this often means a week-long term breaks, up to 1 or 2 months of free time for most school-going children.

Whilst many families are happy to take things easy and spend the holidays eating, resting and catching up on favourite TV shows and past times like shopping and reading, you might want to take things in a different direction this vacation.

During the school year, your kids typically get 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day. Running around with friends, taking part in school Physical Education (PE) lessons 2 to 3 times a week, participating in extra-curricular activities and lugging their heavy school bags to and from school actually means that your kids probably get more exercise on a daily basis than you do.

Not exercising over the holidays could mean that your kids will have a sudden drop in the amount of physical activity they are used to getting. In addition to affecting their overall health and stamina, the lack of exercise is likely to make your kids more restless, cranky and grumpy during the holidays. Here are some ideas to keep the energy up.

1. Make it Fun

Calling it a fitness programme or an exercise routine is sure to send your kids fleeing. Focus on making exercise fun. Choose games such as tennis, badminton or soccer as a means to get your kids out of the house. Visit a park or go on a long hike. Even a visit to a trampoline park can turn into a real work out session for everyone involved.

2. Limit TV, Computer and Time on Devices

When you are watching a show or playing a game, time flies by. Unfortunately, with these devices, time flies by whilst you are sitting on the couch. Limit the hours that your kids get to play with their devices and watch TV. This will encourage them to get off the couch and involved in more active play.

3. Plan for Some Active Play Dates

Arrange for play dates, but try to plan them around a physical activity. Meet up at a park, go rollerblading or go to a water park for some fun. Your kids can easily spend 3 to 4 hours in pure exercise with their friends and places like these.

4. Go on Physically Challenging Family Outings

Choose to do things as a family which involve at least half a day of walking, running, hiking or biking. Go on a picnic in a remote location, plan to complete the Macritchie trail together or even sign up for a family triathlon. Doing something physically challenging as a family allows you to set goals for yourselves and train together. 

5. Choose Fitness Related Gifts

If it’s for the Christmas holidays and you are buying gifts for your children, try to buy something which will encourage them to take up an active sport or game. A new tennis racket, a pair of rollerblades, a bicycle or a swimming costume will make your kids want to go right out and start using them. 

Tags: Family Bonding /Health Matters /Child Development