Technology is more prevalent today than it ever has been before. With the internet so easily accessible, it makes sitting at home doing nothing convenient. Without realizing it, you can get sucked into the technological void and start neglecting the time you could be spending on moving your body or being productive.
More importantly, your kids could be neglecting the time they should be spending on being active.
Being active is essential for all of us, especially children. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, kids under the age of eighteen years old need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity to stay healthy. But, getting them outside to be active can be hard, especially when they have access to iPads, television, and cell phones. So, how can you redirect their attention and priorities to being active?
Here are a few useful tips to help get your kids off the couch and moving!
The way in which you introduce exercising to your children is important. If you treat it like a chore or something they have to do, they will start to refrain from it or refuse it. But, if you treat it like an exciting endeavor, picking things that you know they’d enjoy—then, they’ll start looking forward to it.
One thing that could help motivate your child to become active is to create rewards for them so they have an incentive to keep trying. An example of this would be to make a simple chart to hang up in the kitchen, tracking each day that your children make a point to be active. If they do it a certain amount of times a week, have a reward for them for completing a challenge. You could make it a family-fun competition to see who spends the most time outside or playing a sport, and whoever wins gets a reward of some sort.
Whatever it may be, treating exercise for and with your kids as an exciting activity will make them want to put down the technology and spend some time being active.
You are your kid’s first role model. They look up to everything you do. If you want to start encouraging them to prioritize exercise and activity, do it with them. Make it fun, bonding time as a family to introduce exercise into their daily routines.
A few simple ideas are: Going for family walks around the neighborhood; playing a sport that they especially enjoy in the backyard; setting aside a day of the week to go to the local park—whichever activity you choose, make sure to pick one that you know they will enjoy and do it together. Not only is it good to get them moving around, but it means more quality spent time with you and yours. A win-win.
Kids can view exercise as a chore, unfortunately. One way to eliminate this association is to make it fun for them, but also teach them from a young age how it benefits their health. Let them know that being active helps with their cognitive abilities, making them smarter—creating more blood flow to the brain, which causes new cells in the brain to grow—ultimately, leading to better cognitive skills.
Aside from aiding in cognitive abilities, it also helps reduce stress. Say your child is prone to temper tantrums or is having trouble focusing on schoolwork, promoting physical activity will help your child feel less stressed. In their minds, they’re not working out, they’re playing—living in this imaginary world outside or playing their favorite sport with you, or spending time with their friends, creating social skills.
Physical activity for children has additional benefits than exercising does. Teach your children this in a way they will understand, which will ultimately motivate them to get up and go outside.
All in all, you want to make this fun for you and for them. And it’s achievable! Take these tips and apply them to your life in your own way, making exercise a fun activity in the house, and not another chore your kids don’t want to do. Implementing exercise for your children is one of the greatest things you can do as a parent. Teaching them that moving their body is good for them and their health at a young age will be a lesson they will carry with them for their whole lives.
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