How to encourage your kids to exercise?
Exercise is critical for your kids – just ask the experts. The CDC recommends that children ages 6 to 17 get 60 minutes of activity every day. That’s quite a bit of time spent on their feet.
For parents, though, it can be challenging to excite kids about exercising, especially if their favorite to-dos take place indoors. If you’re having trouble getting your kids into physical activity, it’s time you slipped a few tricks up your sleeves.
We’re here to help you add some creative ideas to your arsenal. Here’s how to encourage your brood to get moving.
Skip the traditional
Many parents get their kids moving by signing them up for team sports. Indeed, joining a team is great for kids. They hone social skills, learn to share and cooperate and, of course, get their exercise.
However, if your child isn’t enthusiastic about the typical team sports, start thinking about activities that don’t happen on a field or court. Perhaps your child likes to dance or swim or has an interest in martial arts. Those activities work just as well for physical fitness’ sake.
You can get even more creative with activities such as climbing. Yes, your little one can hit a climbing wall just like grown-ups, and they reap a slew of benefits from doing so, too. Not only do they strengthen their muscles, but they also learn critical thinking. It’s not always a clear-cut path to the top of the climbing wall, after all.
So, think outside the box and find an activity your kiddo likes. You can also ask them and, together, find a unique hobby that gets them moving.
Schedule a playdate
Collaborate with your mom friends, and all your kids can get their exercise. Little ones love to play with friends. Even if you find it impossible to peel them away from their electronics, knowing a buddy’s outside and wants to play could do the trick.
It’s as simple as that sometimes, too. Encourage your child to invite over a friend or talk to a mom friend to plan a playdate. Kids don’t need much to have fun – let them run around the backyard or meet at the playground. Soon enough, they’ll be running and playing with each other – and getting their 60 minutes of activity, too.
Make it a reward
If your child looks forward to exercising, it makes it much easier to get them on their feet. So, rather than making it a must-do activity, make it a reward for other behaviors.
Let’s say your child’s working on homework. You can promise them a break from their assignments if they head outside for a bit of physical activity. No kid’s going to turn down a basketball break from their homework, we promise.
Exercise is good for kids, and it can be fun, too. It should never feel like a chore or punishment. Instead, think of ways to make it a positive reward, and you’ll have a much easier time getting your kids to move.
Let your child pick the activity
If your kiddo has ownership of the activity they’re doing, they’ll be much more interested in it. So, let each one of your children choose an activity for everyone to do each week.
For example, a kid who loves animals and the outdoors might request a nature walk through the local park. They might request that everyone goes bowling or attends a dance class together. Maybe they’ll want to do something as simple as go on a family bike ride.
No matter what it is, letting your child pick will make the difference. They’ll feel empowered and excited to exercise in the way they’ve chosen – a win for you, too.
Play alongside them
Your children love to play with you. And, with work and school taking up most of your days, you may not get as much quality time together as you’d like.
So, kill two birds with one stone and get active together. You might bring your children with you on an evening walk or take them to the playground. You could hit the backyard or driveway to play classic games, such as tag or four square. You could also play inside – a game of hide-and-seek or freeze dance would get the whole family moving.
Most importantly, though, you and your kids would be making memories together – ones none of you will ever forget. We don’t think there’s a better way to get your exercise in than that.
Get moving and feel good
Exercise is vital to a person’s mental and physical health, regardless of their age. So, put down the screens and get moving with your kids. Everyone will be better and happier for it — and, as a parent, you can’t ask for much more.