Whether or not most children enjoy physical fitness, doctors and nutritionists agree that kids should be active, especially in their early lives. That said, it can be hard as a parent to get your kid up off the couch and outside moving around, especially if they’re particularly activity-averse. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to encourage your kids to get out and start playing even if they hate the idea of exercise. All it takes is some creative thinking and a lot of different options. If you want your kids to start moving, here are a few tips for getting them active in their daily lives.
Keep It in the Family
Whether you’re the kind of family that does everything together or the kind that reconvenes for dinner each night, using exercise as a way to spend more time together is a great to encourage kids to get moving as part of their daily routine. It can be as simple as taking some time after meals to stretch, walk, or do some yoga. It can even be part of everyone’s getting-up routine in the morning. However you decide to integrate exercise into your family’s routine, it will help your kids think about exercise as more than a chore.
Think Outside the Box
One of the most common misconceptions about exercise is that it has to be strictly regimented, taking place in a gym or on a playing field. Chances are your kids already enjoy something that involves movement. All you have to do is find out what that is, and encourage your kids to engage in more of the same behavior. It can be a game of Frisbee on the lawn, volleyball at the beach, a quick swim in summer or ice-skating in winter. Don’t feel like you need to be dragging your kids to the gym every second in order to get them invested in fitness.
Let Them Choose
When it comes to kids, the more choice you give them, the more invested they will become in something. Once you’ve figured out what it is your kid likes to do most, you can find ways to creatively work it into their daily life. Joining a specific sports team at school is a great way to get kids moving and organized, as well as open up chances for school scholarships later on. If your kid is more of a solitary player, there are tons of classes and activities for them to try, from karate to yoga to swimming.
Make It Social
Nothing is more enticing to a kid than getting to hang out with their friends more often. Encouraging your child to engage in team sports is both a great way to create new friendships as well as strengthening old ones. The skills kids learn on a sports team can be helpful in a number of ways as they grow older. If your child wants to spend all their time after school with friends, add the condition that they need to start incorporating exercise into that time. Leave the method up to them. If you’re worried about your kid slacking off, encourage the use of tools. Research the best kids fitbit tracker for them to wear so you can keep track of their daily activity.
Your support is a huge part of your child’s success in any part of their lives. Showing your children that you’re proud of them getting up off the couch and being active will go a long way toward enforcing positive behavior. Be sure to tell them how well they’re doing and encourage them to set goals for themselves. If they’re on a sports team, show up to their games and pay attention to their progress on the field. Your support will show them that not only are they earning your respect. They’re building something they can take with them into their adult lives.
Create a Reward System
Kids don’t necessarily need to be rewarded for physical activity, but with more reticent kids it can go a surprisingly long way. If you start by setting goals and providing feedback, support, and rewards, it won’t take long for your child to catch on. Even if they don’t currently understand the value of exercise, getting them into the routine is the most important part. And sometimes for a routine to stick, it needs to be given value and rewarded.