Regular exercise is vital for people of all ages. But for many parents, getting children to cut down on screen time and increase their exercise is an uphill battle. Here are a few strategies that may convince kids to put down the tablet, get outside, and have some fun.
1 Try it out.
Soccer, dance, football, biking, yoga, martial arts, gymnastics— the list goes on and on! Let your child try out as many extracurricular activities as they want (within your budget and personal time constraints, of course) until they find what they enjoy.
2 Practice what you preach.
Did you know that children with active parents are twice as likely to become active adults themselves? If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to make exercise a priority in your daily life. Remember, we are our kids’ main role models! And has “Do as I say, not as I do,” ever really worked out?
3 Exercise as a family.
Take a hike, walk around the neighborhood, toss a ball in the back yard. Spending quality time with your family in this manner is a great way to bond. Make time to show them first-hand just how important (and fun!) exercise is.
Okay, this one’s great if you’re really struggling. Incentives for getting out and moving around can be as simple as letting them choose dinner or as elaborate as planning a weekend trip. Maybe they want a new Steelers tee or pair of shoes. The point here is to get them active and hope they enjoy it enough to keep doing it on their own.
Last but not least, teach them why it’s important. Of course, what you choose to tell your child will depend on their age. Keep it positive. Especially for young children, it’s best to focus on the benefits of exercise rather than the consequences of not exercising. It’s also very important to avoid statements about physical appearance or “looking good.” The emphasis here should be on health, not weight or looks.