Is Your Kid Getting Enough Active Play? 10 Ways to Know

kids playing outside

If there's one thing kids love doing, it's running around and generally going nuts -- and it's a good thing, because kids need to run around and go nuts. It's recommended that children ages 2 to 5 age should "play actively several times a day," and children between the ages of 6 to 17 should get at least one hour of physical activity each day. 

But who really keeps track? And who estimates accurately? Knowing your child and watching for the subtle clues that he's had plenty of good, old fashioned activity.

Wondering if your child has spent enough time engaging in free, physical play for the day? Here are 10 small signs that point to yes. 

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Is your child getting enough exercise?

  • They Pass Out in the Car

    1

    If you've just spent the day at the park or at a friend's house and your kiddo conks out the minute you put the car in reverse, odds are she's had her fill of running around freely. Enjoy the ride!

  • They Chug Water Like a Marathon Runner

    2

    If your kiddo guzzles a glass of water as if they just spent the week in the Sahara, it's a pretty safe bet that they've gotten in some good (fun!) exercise. Who wants to stop for a drink when there's fun to be had?!

  • There's No Bed-Time Battle

    3

    "I love a good bed-time battle with my kid!" said no parent ever! Typically, when your kid has had more than her fair share of running around for the day, they'll be so tired that there won't be much of a fight ... and maybe they'll be asleep before you even finish their favorite story. 

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  • They're Willing to Eat Anything

    4

    Well, almost anything. Being active makes kids hungry -- ravenous! -- so don't be surprised if your kid doesn't protest in the slightest when you serve him broccoli, even though he normally isn't into it. 

  • They Zone Out

    5

    Any parent knows "the face" -- the one that indicates that their kid is done. They've got that thousand-mile stare, which means they're too tired to even process what's going on around them. 

  • They Have to Go Potty ... Really Badly

    6

    Kids live in the moment, and when that moment is especially fun, they have zero interest in stopping what they're doing. So they don't! When kids are running around, having a blast, don't expect them to put the fun on pause in order to use the restroom. A good indicator that your kid played good and hard -- for a while -- may be that he spends a really long time emptying his bladder afterwards. (Hopefully, he made it!)

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  • They're More Cuddly Than Usual

    7

    If there's one thing all parents can agree on, it's this: Hugs and kisses with our kids are the best. That said, our kids may not always feel the same way. They're busy little people with places to explore and messes to make! Our lovable little cuties may not always be up for a snuggle sesh ... except for when they're physically exhausted. If your normally-squirmy sweetie is perfectly content cuddling up on the couch, it's safe to assume she's gotten enough physical play for the day.  

  • They Want to Take a Nap

    8

    If your child is past the napping stage, they may actually ask to take a nap (yes! really!) if, physically, they're beat and bed time is a long way off. (Enjoy!)

  • There Are No Ants In Their Pants

    9

    You know that feeling when you want to do something, but you're not quite sure what? Yeah, kids get that all the time. (It's ennui for us, ants-in-your-pants for them.) If your normally Mom-I'm-Bored-Come-Play-With-Me kid is perfectly content with some toys or books after a romp outside, it's safe to assume that he got enough physical play. 

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  • They Seem Happy

    10

    Just because they're small, doesn't mean kids don't get the same high -- a.k.a. endorphin release -- after exercise that we do. Exercise -- or running around and playing, as they like to call it -- will almost always make your kid feel good and lift their spirits. If that's not enough reason to make sure your little one makes her "quota" each day, what is?

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