4 Tips To Get Kids Exercising

We live in a world of computers, iPads, video games and a ton of other things that are making our children sit in one spot for extended periods of time. Can you remember your parents kicking you into the backyard and telling you to “just go play”? I certainly can and I was definitely more healthy and fit as I spent a majority of my days outside running and playing. However, exercise has become a thing of the past for kids unless you’re talking about exercising their thumbs on Playstation controllers! So how do you get your kids exercising again? Read on!

1.    Stop Using Negative Motivation and Incentives

Many parents choose to try and encourage their child to exercise using negative motivation. While these parent’s intentions are good, negative motivations and incentives usually just make your child feel worse about themselves and rarely results in fit and healthy children.

What do we mean when we say ‘negative’ motivation and incentives? Many parents insult their children to try and get them to work out, calling them weak or fat and telling them that they’ll never be able to get a boyfriend or girlfriend unless they get in shape. It’s hard to swallow, but many parents feel that making fun of their child will motivate them to healthy actions. Other parents choose to provide negative incentives, such as punishing their child when they eat junk food or when they don’t exercise or get out of the house.

These are neither effective nor sustainable methods for getting your child healthy. They cause far more harm than good, even when they come from positive intentions.

2.    Reward Your Child When They Exercise

Most parents find it far more effective to be supportive of their children’s fitness efforts instead of being negative about their physical disinterest. Positive reinforcement can include everything from giving words of encouragement when your child exercises and chooses healthy options for their meals. Some parents even find success by providing their children with tangible rewards when for making choices that will improve their fitness. Instead of trying to scare your child with horror stories of what will happen if they don’t get up and start moving, emphasize how good they will feel when they exercise regularly.

However you choose to encourage your child it’s important you don’t revert to negative reactions when your child fails to make positive choices every time.

3.    Create the Right Environment for Fitness

Environment plays a huge role in your child’s fitness level. You are going to have a hard time convincing your child that they should exercise and be healthy if you aren’t healthy yourself. How would your child learn to exercise if you don’t exercise yourself? Why should your child listen to your commands to exercise and move more if you spend your whole time in front of the TV? They won’t, and they shouldn’t. Your child’s fitness starts with you.

Turning exercise into something that you do with your child is a great way to both make the activity fun and to show your support for their efforts. If you have never been a healthy person before it can be very encouraging for your child to see you actively fighting the same problems they are, right next to them.

4.    Make it Social

It can be hard to get your kid to step away from the computer or the Xbox. A big reason children are so hooked on these activities is because they are social. Most children spend their time on their computers or on their cell phones messaging with each other and playing around on Facebook. And believe it or not, but over half of all video and computer games are played socially over the internet. Children want to be with other children.

You’ll probably have a hard time convincing your child to stop these activities so they can do jumping jacks and pushups by themselves, but you’ll have an easier time if your child signs up for a sports team or other physical activities involving group exercise. Instead of fighting your child’s urge to be as social as possible, leverage it to get them up and moving. After all, children with a lot of fit and active friends are a lot more likely to be fit ad active themselves.

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