Fitness routines for kids don't necessarily have a reputation for fun
Fitness routines for kids don't necessarily have a reputation of being fun. And with less time and space for safe outdoor activities, and more electronics competing for kids' attention, it's easy for physical activity to fall by the wayside. In our sedentary culture, encouraging kids' fitness is more important than ever.
Fitness is part of a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good. Send a message that exercise is fun and not an unpleasant chore.
The number-one way to prompt your reluctant child to be more active is to be more active yourself. Take up a new sport, resume a walking or running habit, or resurrect that gym membership you've been ignoring. If you don't have a gym, consider looking for one that the whole family can use. And yes: Finding time to work out is a challenge, but it benefits both you and your kids if you can do it. Let kids see you making it work, and enjoying it too.
Many kids are motivated by rewards. Work together to come up with a set of goals for each member of the family, then plan some fun (non-food!) prizes, such as active toys you can all enjoy. Put it all together and call it a family fitness challenge. Or make plans to participate in a fitness event together (like running a 5K).
If your child is overweight, fitness is more important than ever. But it can also be tougher to encourage. Seek out ways to help your child feel more confident about his or her body. This could be through finding the right clothing, planning private or at-home exercise if that's more comfortable, and looking for small fitness victories to celebrate.
Maybe your child doesn't enjoy active play because she hasn't yet found the right sport or exercise for her. Allow her to check out lots of youth sports, including some more unusual picks, until you hit on the right ones. As a family, there are lots of ways you can share active play together; these ideas help you zero in on which ones are best for you right now.
• Active Play Inspired by Arts and Crafts
• Active Games for Family Game Night
• Amped-Up Playground Play
Kids are good at coming up with reasons why they can't play actively. But there are plenty they can do indoors, bring outdoor fun inside. They can also play outside even in inclement weather as long as they have the right clothing or gear (and there's no lightning or dangerously low or high temperatures). You might also consider walking to and from school or even having your child use a standing desk. All of these strategies are ways to add small amounts of fitness to a kid's day.
All these small victories add up to big fitness.