Kids who exercise on a regular basis will carry these habits with them into adulthood and live healthier lives. Staying active can also help children strengthen their muscles, control their weight, reduce their risk of developing serious health conditions, and sleep better at night. Active kids also tend to perform better in school and have higher self-esteem than inactive kids.
Unfortunately, many children prefer sitting on the couch and watching TV or playing video games more than getting the physical exercise they need to stay healthy.
If your child is a couch potato, here are five ways to get him up and moving.
5 Ways to Motivate an Inactive Child
Set a good example.
Kids will follow your lead, so if you’re not making exercise a priority, they won’t feel the need to either. Make sure your kids say that you are staying active—and enjoying it, too. Avoid making comments about how you are dreading your exercise class or morning run. Instead, tell your kids how you can’t wait to exercise because of how great it makes you feel.
You can even get kids moving by inviting them to exercise with you. If your kids aren’t physically fit, start off with gentle stretches and yoga poses designed for parents and kids to do together.
Most kids love playing with new tech gadgets, so you may be able to persuade them to exercise by using one of these fun gadgets. For example, buy a fitness tracker and show your child how he can monitor the number of steps he takes every day. Kids will love watching the number climb as they move about throughout the day and may challenge themselves to continue hitting new milestones.
Focus on fun.
Kids aren’t going to stick to exercising if they find it boring, so focus on fun as you plan how to get your kids moving. Instead of asking your kids to run on a treadmill, encourage them to invite their friends over to play a game of baseball or basketball outside. If your kids don’t love sports, take them to a park or the zoo where they will have to walk around to enjoy the different attractions. The goal should be to make the activity so entertaining that kids don’t even realize that they’re exercising.
Reward healthy habits.
Set goals then reward your kids if they can meet or exceed them. For example, challenge your children to spend 30 minutes a day walking, rollerblading, or biking outside. If your kids meet this goal every day for two or three weeks, reward them by taking them to an amusement park or buying them a new toy they’ve had their eyes on. Kids respond well to rewards, so they will be more motivated to get moving if they know they’re getting something valuable in exchange for their efforts.
Make time for exercise.
Kids often have jam-packed schedules that don’t give them much time to exercise. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they prioritize exercise over some of the other activities on their schedule. If your child is involved in after-school activities that don’t involve physical activity, you may need to cut back on one or two in order to make time for exercise.
Follow these five tips to turn your couch potato kids into fitness fanatics!
Cassie Brewer lives in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (healthy living of course!). Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be. You can follow her on twitter @Cassiembrewer
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