March 01, 2016
Encouraging your children to be more physically active is important for their ability to establish lifelong healthy habits. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, indicating that the digital age may have taken a toll on your child’s daily exercise. And health is not the only thing at risk, with more and more screen time, the digital age has also affected children’s ability to make friends and develop new skills. Between video games, television and the Internet, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get kids excited about exercising. Helping your children create healthy habits now will ensure a happier future as they move into adulthood. Here are some fun tips to help you motivate your children to get moving!
Fitness is more fun if it’s done together. The more effort your family makes to stay active together, the better foundation your child will have to establish healthy habits. Coordinate your plans with the seasons, and make an effort to expose your family to new things. Spring and summer are ideal times to go on family bike rides and vacation at the beach. Fall is the perfect time to visit a corn maze or go pumpkin picking. Winter offers your family a chance to go skiing, ice skating or try your hand at snowshoeing.
Even daily walks or trips to the playground will make a big impact on your child’s daily fitness. Push your family to try new things; go for a hike or rent kayaks or canoes. Gyms offer great benefits for families; for instance, your local YMCA may offer a chance for your family to take swimming lessons or take an exciting class in martial arts together. Making family plans will encourage your kids to get active and will allow your family to create memories that will be cherished for years to come.
Changing your family’s lifestyle habits can help you introduce more activity into your kids’ lives, giving them a positive example to follow. If it’s possible, let your children walk or bike to school. Just this will dramatically increase your children's activity levels. Changing how your family accomplishes chores is another opportunity to introduce increased activity into your family’s life. Do chores together and make it a competition to see how fast you can clean the living room, aiming as a family to beat your time from last week.
Raking the leaves, washing the car or shoveling snow is a great way for your kids to work up a healthy sweat while also building character. Depending on the age of your children, teaching them to walk the dog or mow the lawn is another way for them to boost their activity levels while instilling more responsibility in their lives.
Every child is different and has ever-changing likes and dislikes. If your child takes a liking to organized sports like track or basketball, encourage them to get involved in athletics through school. They might find their passion, and even if they don’t, they are sure to make a few friends along the way. If your child doesn’t take a liking to what’s offered at school, help them explore their interests outside of school. For instance, their real passion may be found through building things, skateboarding or disc golf, and they should be given opportunities to explore various activities. Guiding your child through trying new things can help them learn about themselves and discover passions that will define their lives.
With family-planned activities and encouragement to get involved, you can help your kids establish habits that distract them from absorbing too much screen time. Along the way, you’ll be able to strengthen your family dynamic and truly help your child discover who they are.