The family that plays
together not only stays together, but also stays healthy, says Marc Sickel, founder of Fitness for Health, a pediatric therapeutic
exercise center in Rockville, Md.
need to work—and play—together to enhance physical fitness while building
stronger relationships. With an integrated, team-building approach,
parents, grandparents and children can create fun, recreational games that also
increase self-esteem. This helps to create families who are strong in body—and mind," he says.
children with low levels of interest in physical activity are often found to
have decreased self-confidence, he says. The American Heart Association
has shown that physically active children show improvements in a wide variety
of measures of psychological well-being—including self-esteem.
As a solid base of
skills is built, the child who once avoided risk now has the comfort level and
confidence to try new activities—and to take on new challenges. With
this paradigm shift, the child will more likely enjoy the camaraderie
of team play and continue to progress physically and
The key to
full participation is creativity
and positive reinforcement, as well as scheduling a regular time during the week
as "family playtime."