The only time any of us was on the couch during the day as kids was if we were sick. Well, that and Saturday morning cartoons. Today’s kids have a different life than we did and some of it is why we have a childhood obesity problem.

Why are they on the couch? This question is very serious. Sometimes children spend more time indoors and inactive are safety issues. It’s not always safe to turn them loose on the neighborhood like we were as children. Too many bad things can happen.

Sometimes children spend more time on the couch because there isn’t an adult to keep an eye on them. Both parents may have to work and while the children are too old for a babysitter they still aren’t old enough to go out on their own.

Sometimes the problem is actually medical. Asthmatics, in particular, might fit this picture. Going out to play or even rigorous indoor play may aggravate the condition and be potentially harmful.

What can we do? For safety issues, we can work with other parents to provide a safe place for our children to play. There are organizations that help in this area, including National Night Out.

Many schools offer full-time care for children. There are also places like the Boys and Girls club which offer after-school activities with supervision. Schools may provide bus transportation if the chosen organization isn’t on school grounds.

For medical conditions, a long talk with the doctor may be in order. Asthma can be controlled more easily now even in children. A change in medication may allow a child who couldn’t be active finally get to run with the other kids. If that can’t be done ask for ways to help the child build muscle in safer ways. For some, aquatic exercise might be beneficial.

Our Role: This is the biggest tip of them all. We each have a role to play in this. Our children are watching us. Even if we don’t have children there are probably neighborhood children watching. If we don’t get off the couch and become active ourselves it will teach children that being active isn’t required once you become an adult.

Try this to get your kids OFF the couch:

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