Kids need to be physically active to keep a healthy, balanced life. The problem, though, is that kids these days prefer to sit all day, eyes glued to their gadgets.
Sometimes, they do go outside but interaction with other children remains limited or the activities they engaged in are not ideal. Because obesity has affected about 28% of Australian children and adolescents, the call to get kids to exercise has become a loud cry for parents.
Since 1995, the incidence of overweight and obesity within the 5-17 age group rose from 21% to 25% in 2007, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Given the impending health predicaments, many parents are encouraged to influence their kids to exercise. How exactly, you will learn effective tips as you read on:
1. Practice Bedtime Conversations
Like any behavioral modification, start with raising awareness. What better way is there to inform kids than to tell tales.
You can get creative with your explanations, citing concrete examples of people who have suffered health damage due to physical inactivity, or use sugar-coated scenes filled with fictional characters and events.
Some books, physical and online copies, are available to better aid parents in their conversations with their children. Movies like Wall-E are also ideal for a more graphical approach to teaching children.
2. Encourage Household Chores
Implementing a rewards system for household chores is an effective way for kids to exercise. Activities like running to a store to purchase goods, scrubbing and sweeping floors, wiping tables, folding clothes, walking the dog, and so on are all physical in nature.
Through giving chores, your children get to move around, as well as contribute to your household management and earn rewards for themselves. In the process, they also learn to be responsible.
You can also infuse several repetitions of easy exercises into ordinary activities like squats, leg kicks, arm twists, torso rotations, and stretches. Just make sure your kid is safe all the time. Other exercise options come in the form of choices.
Instead of driving, consider walking your child to school. Rather than taking lifts, climb your way to the 2nd or 3rd floor. Little things do matter.
3. Exercise with Your Kids
Leading by example is a foolproof way to get people to change, more so with children who often mirror their significant others’ behaviors. Find a common activity you both enjoy, like dancing, gardening, fixing appliances, cooking, swimming, or simply just playing around.
These random acts of love can also equate to subtle weight loss activities that your kids appreciate even more. They won’t even notice they’re already exercising.
Yet, there is nothing stopping you from directly asking your kids to exercise with you. Take them with you in your yoga class, marathon training, or gym session.
Of course, they won’t execute the same sets as yours. You can customise their routines to make them age-appropriate.
4. Introduce Sports
As parents, you have the responsibility to hone your kids’ talents and skills and maximise their potentials. Should they show signs of interest in any sport or hobby, encourage them to join a class.
They don’t necessarily have to excel at it, they only have to appreciate the idea of moving around, socialising with other kids their age, and enjoying the process.
If their interests are not in sports, still joining non-academic classes helps them to be more physically active. The mere acts of running to a venue, playing with others, and participating in class tasks already spell a difference.
5. Invest in Interactive Video Programs
Let’s face it, kids these days are digital beings. You cannot not disallow them to engage in anything digital. Otherwise, they’ll feel left behind and frustrated or their skills will remain ancient.
But you can very well introduce interactive video games to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. These programs use augmented reality technology that utilises physical simulators.
Playing online tennis, golf, or running into an online jungle has never looked and felt this real. You can select fitness videos and other child-friendly shows to ensure no violence and explicit themes are shown.
There are a million other ways to encourage exercising just as there are a million ways to skin a cat. Modern parents travel their children often as exploration not only gets the adrenaline rushing, but also enriches the mind and soul.
Others prefer to install a schedule board for their children to follow and reward them for every milestone accomplished.
Whatever your chosen method is, remember to put your child’s safety first. Health should be holistic and so along with exercise, encourage dieting, socialising, paying doctor’s visits, and so on.
Lastly, never impose something that your child may not be capable of doing. They, too, have physical limitations that you need to respect.