5 Helpful Tips to Get Your Children Excited About Exercise

Get Your Children Excited About Exercise, healthy kids, kids health and wellness

If you think your kids are less active than you were at their age, statistics show you’re probably right. According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only about one-third of kids are physically active today, and most kids spend nearly eight hours every day in front of a TV or computer screen. About a third of teens spend at least three hours every school day playing video games. 

Considering the lure and attraction of video games, online activities, and TV shows, it can be difficult to get kids interested in being more physically active. That’s when it’s time for parents to step in and initiate a few changes that can make physical play just as much fun as sitting in front of a screen. Not sure how to do that? We have five suggestions.

1. Don’t use physical activity as a punishment

When you see your kids plopped down in front of the TV, it may be tempting to tell them to “go play outside.” But kids can see that as more of a punishment or a dreaded chore than something fun to do. Instead, suggest a family activity or prearrange a fun activity with one of your child’s friends. Keep up on activities around town to make plans to explore a park or walking trail.

2. Focus activity on their interests, not yours

You may really want your child to play soccer like you did as a kid, but maybe your child just doesn’t like the game. Let your child take the lead in deciding which activities he or she wants to take part in. Or mix it up and suggest a variety of activities they can try out to see if they find something that interests them. Trying out different activities might help your child discover an interest or ability they never knew they had. At the very least, you’ll introduce them to a lot of different ideas and spend some quality time together. Think about family activities as well as individual activities.

3. Tap into tech

Today, there are lots of ways to use tech to your advantage when it comes to being more active. Pedometers can help your kids track their steps, and wearable tech provides a far more complete picture of their performance so they can keep track of their own progress and their improving health. Online apps they can use either on the computer or on their phone incorporate a gaming aspect to fitness, making it more fun and challenging to be active on a regular basis.

4. Reward their efforts

Don’t be critical of your child’s performance; be supportive. Being physically active is about improving your child’s health, now and for the rest of their lives. It’s not about being the best or even being better than someone else. Don’t measure success by wins; measure it by dedication, willingness to try different things, or just being more active for a set period of time. Then reward your child with something meaningful and healthy, like a family outing that’s focused on their interests.

5. Set an example

It’s difficult for kids to get motivated to be active when they see you sitting in front of a screen all day. Remember, children learn by example, and parents’ activities and lifestyles have a big influence on their kids’ activities and attitudes  during childhood and beyond. Be active with your kids, whether that means getting out there and participating in the actual play, being a coach, or just being sure to attend all of your kids’ games to show your active support. Being active in your own physical activities, like going to the gym or joining a walking group, also shows them you take your own health seriously, too.

Physical activity is an important part of helping your kids stay healthy, and so is good nutrition. At Nova Physician Wellness Center, Dr. Suri can help you design a health and wellness plan that's just right for your child's needs, so they can enjoy optimal health now and in adulthood. To schedule your child's evaluation, book an appointment online today.

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