Getting healthy as a family is about making small changes together to get the balance right. Spending time together being active is a great way to have fun and build your kids’ health, their confidence and improve their mood.

How active do kids need to be?

The Australian Department of Health recommends that children and teens aged 5–17 years need:

  • 1 hour or more each day of moderate to vigorous physical activity

    Moderate activities are ones that take a bit of effort, but kids can still talk while doing them, like a brisk walk or dancing. Vigorous activities are ones that make them huff and puff, like riding a bike, skipping or sport.

  • Several hours a day of a variety of light physical activities

    Light activities might include active play or games, like hide and seek or kicking and throwing a ball, or you could take the dog for a walk. 

  • No more than 2 hours per day of screen time

    Screens can affect children's development in many ways – learn more about screens and kids. Try to break up long periods of sitting as often as possible, as they are linked to poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Uninterrupted sleep

    9 to 11 hours per night for kids aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years. Try to also keep consistent bed and wake-up times. Learn more about the importance of sleep.

How one family made lasting changes and became healthier together

The Doshi family decided to make small, simple changes to their lifestyle to improve their health, including being physically active as a family and eating more healthily. Watch how they made these positive changes together and how it brought them closer as a family.


Expert tips to support the wellbeing of your kids

Watch the video below for expert tips from psychologist Daniel Angus from the Mental Health Commission NSW, on ways to support your kids’ wellbeing.


Things you can do today

  • Find a free program that can help. Take 5 minutes to read about all of the programs available to you and your family. Join a fun after school program or find a sport in your community where you and you kids can get active, make friends, learn about healthy eating and build confidence. Use an Active Kids Voucher to help you register your kids for active programs. Or use a free coaching and information service to get the facts and motivation you need to start developing healthy habits.
  • Choose a small goal to start with. A short walk is a great example. Plan a walk to the park or a lap around the block with the family. Make this kind of thing a habit by picking a certain day each week that suits everyone to go for a walk together or walk to school. Then you can gradually increase the distance, increase the number of days you walk together, or add a new activity.
  • Think about how you use your time. Busy families are often short of time, so it can seem hard to fit activity in. Try watching one less TV show or aim to use travel time to get moving by walking, cycling or catching public transport to school or to the shops.
  • Explore your neighbourhood. Learn about local facilities, parks, playgrounds, foot and bike paths your family can use and go on an after school activity. Check out the local government programs and activities, facilities and events for your area. Find and test out a safe route for your kids to walk, ride or scoot to school.
  • Be a role model. The habits that you teach your kids today are likely the ones that they will stick to. Find out how you can get healthier and start making a change in your own habits, so you can give your kids the start they need.