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How to Get Your Kids Moving
How to Get Your Kids Moving
We’ve spent the better part of the last two years trapped inside, thanks to living in the shadow of a global pandemic. Everything, from playdates to lessons, went online, and everyone — regardless of age — is spending more than the recommended amount of time in front of a screen. With the emergence of a vaccine for the younger age groups, and the virus beginning to shift from pandemic to endemic, things are starting to return to normal. The challenge now is to pry our kids away from their screens and get them moving again. Here are a few ideas to light a fire under them and get them interested in being active again.
Practice What You Preach
Have you ever heard the phrase “monkey see, monkey do?” Multiply that by 1,000, and you’ve got the perfect description of trying to teach something to a child. You can use all your breath telling them to do something, but if you turn around and do something else, nine times out of 10, they’re just going to mimic what they see you doing. Instead of directing from the bench, try practicing what you preach. Get up and get moving, and encourage them to join you. You might be surprised how excited they get when mom or dad wants to play. It won’t be long before they’re leaving you in the dust.
Leave The Car Behind
It is important to note that this tip only applies if you’re within walking distance of…well, anything. If you live in a rural area where having a car for transportation is the only option, feel free to skip to the next tip. Otherwise, if you don’t have to bring home a ton of groceries or a heavy piece of furniture, consider leaving the car at home and walking to the store. You can make this a more frequent occurrence by purchasing a wagon or a foldable grocery cart for hauling your purchases home. It can also double as a tool for transporting tired children home if the walk ends up being a bit too much for them.
Make it a Family Affair.
While it isn’t impossible to get the kids moving when one parent stays home, it can be a lot easier to encourage everyone to get active if your physical activities include everyone. Plan your trips to the park or your visits to the beach around a schedule where everyone can participate. This trick can be beneficial if more kids gravitate more toward one parent than the other. Don’t take this as an insult to your parenting skills, but sometimes they just like Dad more or vise-versa.
Focus on Play
For an adult, getting active and staying healthy usually means structured workouts, lifting weights and time spent on the treadmill. For kids, anything can be a workout. Exercise helps improve overall health for both kids and adults. In children, exercise helps kids to maintain their weight, strengthen bones, keep their hearts strong and healthy, and improve their energy levels — all without a single trip to the gym or a single weight lifted. Don’t put a lot of pressure on running a mile in a specific time or lifting a certain amount of weight. Instead, set them loose and let them play. Most of the time, that’s all you need.
Humans are naturally competitive. While this can turn negative quickly, a bit of healthy competition can have a remarkable impact when it comes to getting your kids off their butts and away from the screens. Sometimes, all it takes is an “I bet you can’t beat me to the other side of the yard” to get them racing off at top speed, leaving you struggling to keep up. Tap into that competitive spirit and use it as an encouragement to get kids moving.
Give Fitness-Related Gifts
Who doesn’t love getting gifts, especially when they arrive randomly instead of just on birthdays or holidays? This is the perfect opportunity to start handing out some fitness-related gifts. You don’t have to go all-out with Apple watches or other high-tech trackers. Something as simple as a badminton set or a frisbee can be more than enough to get people moving. No matter what you choose, make sure you’re ready to get out there and play too.
Don’t Stress and Make it Fun.
Getting up and moving is essential, but there’s no reason to stress yourself out about it. Take your time and make it fun. Trying to force someone into an exercise regimen never ends well. That is doubly true for kids who live to make their parents’ lives more difficult. Focus on the fun first, and everything else will fall into place. Make sure you’re out there enjoying yourself too! You might be surprised how much fun you can have running around the yard chasing after your kids.