Getting your kids motivated these days (to do anything) can be a challenge for any parent -- especially when it comes to exercising and staying healthy. There are so many things that are taking up our kids time, we have to help them learn to make fitness a priority. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are four tips from certified fitness trainer Eraldo Maglara to help get your children and teens moving in the right direction.
- Communication Speaking to your kids about the importance of staying healthy and exercising is one of the most effective tools you can use to change their behavior and way of thinking. Encouraging them to stay active and eat healthy can have tremendous benefits down the road. Show them stories and books about being healthy and moving.
- Set an example Children these days are always looking to follow someone they admire or connect with. Parents play a pivotal role in that aspect. Practice what you preach and lead an active and healthy life. You will be surprised at how much your kids will listen and follow. Exercising doesn’t have to be a workout, it can be a walk, a hike, even household chores or a trip to the zoo can be a workout!
- Regular routine We are all creatures of habit. That most certainly includes our children. Establish a routine on a daily or weekly basis were everyone in the family must commit to an exercise program. The more frequent it is implemented the more routine it becomes. How about a morning walk to get the day (and your body) going!
- Reward system Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do is not only counter-productive but also increases resentment and resistance. Not smart. However, if we implement a system were a reward is given for their participation or effort, now we have the best of both worlds. Just make sure the reward criterion is settled before the activity. Remember to not make food a reward, but some good ways to go like earning screen time, or an extra trip to the library as a reward.
Remember, the earlier you start teaching kids a life skill, the more it becomes part of their life. But, it's never too late! Not only will you be getting exercise with your kids, but you'll be getting more quality time with them! I notice with my teens we get some really good conversations in our long walks.