With tablets and televisions touting endless entertainment, motivating your child to exercise can be challenging. Granted, not all kids are interested in sports. It’s also true that technology has the potential to serve as an immensely valuable learning tool for developing minds. However, excessive screen time contributes to sedentary behavior, which increases the risk of numerous mental and physical health problems that are often avoidable.
Of course, you need to ensure that your little ones stay sprightly. The first step is to identify what they enjoy. This is seldom simple, but never impossible. Remember that kids tend to favor engaging activities over conventional sports. For instance, your child may prefer cycling or skating instead of jogging or going to the gym. In any case, they’re more likely to participate if their friends join. It’s also important to establish goals, targets and incentives to maintain steady progress.
That said, here are some clever ways to help your son or daughter have fun getting fit.
An easy and effective solution is to organize running races in your back yard, with rewards for the winner. This is ideal for competitive kids who are motivated by the prospect of victory. Another draw is that it’s inherently a social affair, making it appealing to mini extroverts.
Keep things interesting with different types of races. Skipping ropes provide an excellent cardio workout, for example, and potato sack races are bound to bring bursts of laughter. You can also create variety with one-legged races or make it a team effort with relays.
While we’re discussing team efforts, it’s worth exploring ideas for groups. Perhaps you should start simple with family activities like ball games, trail hikes or neighborhood walks. Maybe your child is curious about a certain sport. Following are some lesser-known options:
- Martial arts
- Table tennis
A modern approach is to pick up an activity kit or virtual program with content designed to encourage participation. These products are available on skillastics.com where you can choose from a range of themes including character and skill development, along with integrated academic and nutritional resources.
Your dogs, if you have any, offer the perfect opportunity for their little owners to break a sweat. As long as your child is able to safely hold the lead, they can partner up with their canine companion for an adventure around the park or along the beach.
When the dynamic duo returns, your pup will probably benefit from a bit of grooming. This is another chance for your kids to get up and out, whether it’s to brush the dog’s coat or give them a refreshing wash. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
You might find that inspiring your children to exercise is less about what you do than how you do it. An active role model who sets the example is far more convincing than a parent who complains from the couch. Also, don’t forget positive feedback and reinforcement when they show commitment.
After selecting an activity, draw up a schedule to track and reward progress. There’s nothing better than watching your child grow into their happiest and healthiest self.