A major reason why many kids aren’t getting enough physical activity is that they’re spending more time than ever before in front of screens. COVID-19 has resulted in lots of us, including children, spending more time at home, attending virtual classes, watching Netflix, or playing video games.
Exercise and other forms of physical activity are necessary for everyone at all ages groups for fitness and lifelong health. That’s why it’s important to motivate children to be physically active and instil in them good exercise habits. This helps reduce the risk of chronic and cardiovascular diseases and psychological disorders as they grow. Getting involved in multiple activities early in life can help them develop fundamental skills. And those skills – like jumping, running, skipping, throwing and hopping – can build endurance, flexibility, strength, balance and coordination, along with a sense of self.
Of course, motivating them to be active can be a big challenge. That’s why our personal fitness trainers have rounded up a few easy ways to ensure your family keeps moving. Read this blog and discover some tips to make sure your kids stay active and healthy.
Here, we outline a few ways to inspire your kids to enjoy getting active so they stay healthy and fit.
Start by asking them to make a list of the activities they love. Be prepared for answers like watching movies or playing video games. After all, they’ve likely spent a good part of the past year doing just that. If they only list activities that involve screens, ask them to make another list that doesn’t.
Go through that list and highlight entries that have some form of physical activity. It could be something as simple as going to the mall or playing with the dog in the garden. These activities can be a good place to start when encouraging them to move around more. It’s also more likely that your little one will continue being active when they’re doing something they like.
If you’re having trouble getting your kids to be more active, set aside time for activities the whole family can take part in. This could include a bike ride after dinner (once spring arrives) or going for early morning walks.
Not that any kid likes doing them but household chores are a low-impact activity your child can benefit from. Others, like working in the garden, taking out the garage, or mowing the lawn create opportunities for them to burn calories and build muscle mass. Warning: assign age-appropriate tasks to ensure your child doesn’t hurt themselves.
If you have a backyard, consider building an obstacle course or scavenger hunt, or drawing a hopscotch game with fun patterns and colours for younger kids. If you have adolescents at home, try hiring an in-home personal trainer for the whole family and spend quality time together exercising.
Most homes these days contain many electronic devices, including multiple TVs, laptops, phones, and iPads. This makes it difficult for family members, including children, to fight the temptation TO sit in front of a screen whenever they feel like it. But it’s important to schedule a screen-free time for themselves and their children and instead engage in interesting activities together.
For instance, instead of watching TV with your kids after dinner, go for a walk with them. This allows you to spend more time connecting as a family. It also increases endorphin and serotonin levels which puts you all in a better mood, allowing enhanced brain function and helping you sleep more peacefully. You will see your children thrive by releasing some energy and your relationship grow stronger.
When trying to make physical activity a part of your child’s daily routine, creating a reward system can do wonders. To this end, mark a time dedicated to physical activity on the calendar, or create a sticker chart. When your child achieves their daily activity goals, let them put a checkmark on the calendar or a sticker on the chart. Once they’ve completed an entire week, you can reward them in various ways. For instance, let them choose something fun for the whole family to do over the weekend.
Parents of teenagers know it’s often tough to motivate children in this age group, especially when trying new things. They’re likely missing their school routine and socializing with their friends in person. This may damage their motivation, but it’s vital that they regularly exercise to maintain their overall health and well-being.
The best way to motivate children of all age groups, including teens, is to make the activity interesting. Instead of asking them to do something for an hour straight, try to decrease the time to shorter bursts of 20-30 minutes. Also, instead of sticking to the same activities, like playing tennis or soccer every weekend, let them try new things to pique their interest. For instance, you could purchase hula hoops or play frisbee in your backyard or garden. Remember, if you get them excited about the activity, they will enjoy doing it even more.
No matter which physical activity you choose for your children, make sure to pair it with a well-balanced diet as both are necessary for a healthy mind and body. Focusing on one and disregarding the other will not be effective in the long run. They need to know their food intake and activity levels are both important for their fitness. Try to develop these healthy habits from an early age, but it’s never too late to start.