With so much for kids and adolescents to preoccupy themselves with these days, it’s easy for physical health and exercise to be forgotten. When your child’s daily schedule takes them from school, to an activity after school, to dinner, to homework, and finally to bed, when are they supposed fit in their exercise? Luckily, there are ways to fit in a daily workout that kids will find fun and easy. Here are a few:
Participate With Your Kids
Regardless of how you choose to get your kids more active, participating in their exercise activities is a great way to ensure your kids both work out and keep on working out.
Kids emulate their parents, so if you’re sitting around watching TV and eating junk food, you’re legitimizing this behavior to your kids. That is, if they see you doing it, they’re likely to do it as well. Adults know how to self-impose limits when it comes to activities like this, but kids do not – so it’s up to you to remember that your behavior will have an impact on your children’s health.
Keep It Fun
There are few better ways to get kids to do something than by making their activities fun. The good news here is that most forms of exercise can be extremely fun, especially for children.
Sports, non-competitive games, and activities with friends are just a few of the ways you can make working out fun for your kids. Does your kid like sports? If so, put up a basketball hoop in your yard so they can shoot around whenever they please. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it’s still better than being sedentary on the couch.
If they don’t like traditional or competitive sports, that’s okay too; there are countless exercise activities that don’t involve competition. Walking the family dog, going for a jog, water activities, and hiking are just a few examples.
Further, you can make exercise fun by establishing goals and helping your children track their progress – kids love tangible results. Is your child techy rather than sporty? Get them a Fitbit or other wearable smart tech that can help them both generate and crunch numbers regarding their health.
Work Out For a Cause
Doing something for someone else can be very rewarding, especially for a young person since many children are often eager to please adults. Accordingly, find an exercise activity for a cause. Fun-runs, weekend tournaments, and other events for awareness can be rewarding on their own, especially if it involves a physical feat that your child has to work for, like training for a 5k.
Moreover, once they complete one exercise activity for a cause, the satisfaction they get will likely be enough for them to start seeking out more of these activities in the future.
Schedule Their Exercise
Whether it’s weekly team sports or reoccurring trips to the park or gym, if your child is old enough, establishing routine through scheduling activities in advance will get your kids working out.
The amount of scheduling is dependent on age. For instance, if you have a teenager, rather than scheduling their activities for them, you might help them create their own schedules to give them a sense of autonomy while still ensuring they’re making good decisions regarding their physical health.
Let Your Kids Have a Say
Similar to letting them schedule their own workouts, let your kids have a say regarding their exercise activities. If your child is going to be miserable at baseball practice but would have the time of their life at a karate lesson, there’s no harm in letting them choose the activity as long as their alternative is still active and appropriate to the situation.
This works especially well with older kids because personal autonomy is important to adolescents. If they have a sense of autonomy and they’re doing what you want them to do, you’re going to have plenty of envious parents asking you for advice for their own kids.
Limit Screen Time
Last, but certainly not least, limit how much time your children spend watching TV or surfing the Internet. If your kids are sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours and hours each day, they’re losing out on hours and hours of physical activity.
At first kids might be resistant, but once they’re forced to entertain themselves in other, more active ways, their interests will adapt and the endless hours spent in front of the TV will be a thing of the past.
Working out should not be a chore. There are plenty of fun and worthwhile activities for you and your children that involve staying active. Although each child is different, these tips will be a good starting point towards having healthy and active children.