Challenging your child to spend less time in front of a screen and more time participating in physical activity is no simple task. And with the rise of TV streaming networks, social media, online gaming, computers, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles, the struggle is real.
As a result of this increased visual draw, fewer children are getting their recommended amount of daily activity, and childhood obesity is becoming a real issue. Healthcare experts advise that children between the ages of six and seventeen should perform at least one hour of physical activity daily and engage in jumping, hopping, or skipping actions three times weekly to encourage bone development and strengthening.
While this is all great in theory, how do you encourage your child to participate in exercise? Luckily, there are a handful of helpful tips that will help you do precisely that. Read on to find out more.
Motivated by Role Modeling
Children, especially younger kids, live by example. How often have you seen your child mimic your actions because they want to be like you? As a result, children who see their parents actively engaging in exercise will be more likely to participate and want to become involved. For instance, take them for a walk on the beach to collect shells, head to the local sports field with a ball and play a game with them, or encourage them to ride their bikes with you.
Let Kids Be Leaders
Encourage your children to become involved in team sports where they can practice social and leadership skills. When you plan family activities, ask them what kind of activity they think you should all do on that occasion. By promoting leadership, you help them feel more in control of their time and build essential skills that will benefit them later in life. Additionally, giving them a sense of leadership promotes confidence.
Choose an Activity that is Developmentally Appropriate
When selecting activities for your child to participate in, it is essential to opt for age-appropriate exercise. For instance, you wouldn’t have a six-year-old lifting weights, wrestling, or going for a mile-long jog. On the other hand, an eight-year-old may enjoy playing soccer, riding bikes, or swimming. Finding the right options for the relevant age groups ensures they will have fun and won’t leave your kids feeling like they “can’t do exercise” because the activity was too difficult for them.
Organize a Charity Run for Kids
When you host a charity event like planning a fun run for kids and parents, you provide your child with a fun, social activity they can do with their family and friends. Furthermore, adding that they will be doing this to help a charity and also teaches several important lessons, making it an excellent teaching opportunity and a fun way to get in a little movement and social activity.
Typically, these events are relatively straightforward to plan and only span an hour or two. And, with the help of your local school or community, it can become a fun annual event that everyone enjoys.
Limit Screen Time
This one is tough but necessary. Studies show that children with less exposure to screen time sleep better and have improved cognitive function. However, with the ever-developing technology and a multitude of social media, online gaming, and TV streaming services, getting your kids away from their screens and outdoors is no easy feat. As a result, setting firm boundaries regarding how much time they may spend in front of a screen frees up your children’s time, enabling them to participate in more physical activities.
Give Them Access to Active Toys
Provide active toys for your children to play with, as these are an excellent way to promote physical exercise without making it a task that they ‘have to do.’ For example, giving your children skipping ropes, soccer balls, goggles, a snorkel, a skateboard, rollerblades, or ice skates will encourage them to have fun and promote exercise simultaneously.
When you lead by example and combine fun and play with physical activity, you’ll find dragging your children away from screens less challenging and more exciting for them. In addition, offering interesting options that enable them to build social and leadership skills while burning off energy will ensure your kids remain healthy and happy.