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Family Fitness is Fun!

March 12, 2012

funmefit letters by people

If there’s one thing that’s missing in “grown-up” life it’s fun! When we hit (roughly) our mid-twenties and start having the responsibilities of a “proper” job, maybe a family and a couple of kids, we realise that we are so far away from our beloved school days, no matter how horrible they were at the time, that we are now adults and cannot be kids anymore – something that a Friday night on the town just won’t fix.

Somtimes we long to play for hours on those hot summer days like our younger selves instead of being stuck in the office sitting at our computers. If some of us want this and feel that life isn’t fun anymore as we grow up then why don’t we re-live childhood fun with our own children?

In August 2010 the Guardian UK reported on a report called “State of Play – Back to Basics,” by Professor Tanya Byron which highlighted the growing issue of parents’ inability to play with children in modern times calling it a “lost art” for British families.

Byron found that 21% of parents (who admitted it) out of a study of 2,000 parents and 2,000 children, were unable to remember how to play and engage with their children in activities that would aid their creative and imaginative development.

This inability to play and engage with children’s imagination meant that the report could identify lack of communication and understanding between generations focused on which games and activities should be enjoyed together as a huge contributor to the issues involved in family playtime.

“Nearly one in three parents choose to play computer games with their children thinking that’s what their kids will most enjoy,” found Byron but when children were asked for their personal preference for fun with the family, nine out of ten opted for “traditional pursuits, such as challenging each other at board games or playing outdoors together.” On the contrary to parents’ beliefs, the children said that they would rather play video games alone.

It is not just a lack of understanding and imagination that the study found was to blame for the loss of family playtime,  it is those responsibility pressures faced by almost all adults of work and chores that leads to more stress and less quality time with the kids. Surprisingly for some and perhaps not for others, almost a third of the children said that they were aware of their parents’ work stress and knew it was a major contributing factor of why their parents couldn’t play with them.

The study also found that parents were confused in general by what they should do with their children, blaming this on a lack of quality information.

Francois Banon, vice-president of Communications at Disneyland Paris and who commissioned the research argued, “a lack of clear advice and direction generally on how to engage children in effective play and deal with problems they encounter is a clear issue for parents.” He added, “Play is vital to a child’s development. It improves the way they interact, communicate and develop key life skills.”

Byron and Banon emphasised the need for play with children to be fun and in this way, assisting the learning and development process.

Fun is vital no matter how old we get and the above research shows just how important it is for families to play together in a way that is not stressful like it can be staying indoors arguing over video games. Simply taking the kids to the park and having a kick-about with a ball or a game of rounders can improve relationships, help children’s development and get parents feeling young again.

We don’t need to do extravagant things as adults to acheive fun and enjoyment like a child on christmas morning, we just need to play with our kids! It’s great for fitness and our stress levels too.

For more information on what activities are available for families and to help you set up your own play events, register for free at or find us on Twitter @FunMeFit and Facebook

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