Children want to be active – let’s give them the opportunity!
Running, jumping, playing games and all kinds of other activities contribute to a good childhood. Children will enjoy being active, as long as they can do it on their own terms and it is what interests them.
Physical activity is a source of great times for children. Many of us remember the moment when we first learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers or to swim without the help of an adult or armbands. For me, memories of sports team competitions and good times together are among my best childhood memories.
Sufficient exercise is also naturally important from the perspective of the growth and development of a child. The latest recommendations state that primary school children should get two hours of physical activity a day. Unfortunately, only about 50 per cent of boys and girls get enough exercise.
Children are offered so many other interesting ways of spending their time that physical activity no longer interests everyone. Services provided through a screen, in particular, entice children indoors and these games, TV shows and social media worlds keep children glued to their seats.
To change this, adults should provide children with sufficiently inspiring and tempting alternatives to sitting in front of a screen. The world of children is so multidimensional that no one single thing interests all of them. To make children more physically active we need lots of different opportunities and many different people involved to make things happen.
Parents play a decisive role when it comes to encouraging children to be more active. The younger the child the greater the impact a parent has. Sports clubs, schools and day care centres have the potential to provide wonderful opportunities for sports and physical activity. The people involved carry out immeasurably important work and deserve all the support they can get.
Kesko, which takes its corporate responsibility seriously, is also involved in encouraging children to move. Kesko has been cooperating with the Young Finland Association (Nuori Suomi ry) for over 10 years and this cooperation has helped to encourage over 200,000 children a year to be more active.
Teemu Japisson is Secretary-General of the Young Finland Association