How to Encourage Kids to be Physically Active

kids biking
  • Set an example by engaging in physical activity to encourage kids to do the same.
  • Make exercise fun and interesting for kids by turning it into a game or encouraging them to try something new.
  • Focus on progress rather than perfection when helping children develop healthy habits.
  • Be patient and persistent with your efforts despite initial resistance.
  • Limit screen time and provide alternative activities such as reading, sports, and spending quality time with family.

The importance of physical activity cannot be overstated, especially for kids. Regular exercise strengthens bones and muscles and improves children’s mental and emotional well-being.

However, getting kids to be physically active can be challenging, mainly when they are used to spending long hours in front of screens. Here are some tips and strategies on how parents and caregivers can encourage kids to be physically active.

Set an Example

As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s first role model. If you want your child to be active, you must be active yourself. Set aside some time every day to exercise or engage in physical activity.

Take your child with you for a walk or a jog. Go on a family bike ride or play catch in the backyard. When kids see how much fun you have being physically active, they naturally want to join in.

Make it Fun

little girls having fun in the trampolines

One of the most important ways to encourage kids to exercise is to make it fun. For younger children, turn exercise into a game by playing tag or hide-and-seek. Put on music and dance together or create an obstacle course in the backyard.

If you have older children, take them to a freestyle trampoline arena where they can safely try different tricks and flips. Kids will be excited to try something new and challenging, which can help make exercise more enjoyable for them.

Focus on Progress, Not Perfection

One of the biggest reasons kids hesitate to exercise is that they might feel they are not good enough at it. As a parent or caregiver, it’s essential to focus on progress, not perfection.

Encourage your child to set achievable goals and praise them for their efforts, regardless of the outcome. Celebrate small successes and encourage them to keep trying. Focusing on progress can help build your child’s confidence and self-esteem.

Be Patient

It’s important to remember that getting kids to be physically active is no small feat. It takes time, patience, and persistence. Don’t give up if your child is hesitant or resistant at first.

Keep trying new activities and strategies; eventually, you will find something that works for them. Remember, every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient, stay positive, and stay committed to helping your child develop healthy habits.

Limit Screen Time

mom taking daughters phone to limit screen time

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions have become a significant part of their lifestyle. As much as screens can be a source of entertainment, it is essential to limit screen time for children. Excessive screen time can lead to physical, social, and mental health problems in children. 

Set Rules and Boundaries

As a parent, setting rules and boundaries for screen time is essential. Establish a specific time each day for screen time, and stick to it. Communicate these rules to your children and explain why it is necessary to limit screen time. Make it clear that screen time is not a reward for good behavior but a privilege that comes with responsibility.

Create Alternative Activities

Children need activities other than screen time to keep them entertained and engaged. Encourage them to participate in physical activities like sports, playing outside, or walking. Reading books, arts and crafts, board games, and spending quality time with the family are other options to keep them busy and entertained.

Monitor your child’s Screen Time

It is challenging to keep track of how much screen time your child spends. Use apps and parental controls on devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops to monitor your child’s screen time. Many apps allow you to limit the amount of time spent on specific apps or sites. Set screen time limits on these apps and devices to control how much your child spends on screens.

Lead by Example

Children look up to their parents and follow their behavior. It is essential to lead by example and limit your screen time. Set aside time to disconnect and indulge in other activities with your children. Show them that other activities besides screens can be enjoyable and worthwhile.

The Bottom Line

Encouraging kids to be physically active isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial for their health and well-being. By setting a good example, making exercise fun, focusing on progress, limiting screen time, and being patient, parents and caregivers can help their children develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Remember, it’s never too late to start, and every small step toward a more active lifestyle counts. Let’s make fitness fun and help our kids lead happy, healthy lives.

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