Sometimes it seems that children today are far more motivated to give their fingers a workout playing video games (ipad, mobile phone or play station) or using the remote control than they are to move bigger muscles in their bodies. In fact, research shows that 50 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds are not getting the exercise they need on a daily basis. And 34 percent of those kids would stop and fail an eight-minute treadmill test. So the question is, how do you get the good exercising habits started?
Reason #1: Let them play video games.
If your kids love video games (we all know they do), use them as a reward for doing something active. Encourage your children to do their homework and play with their friends ideally outside engaging in physical activity, or an after school sport such as Martial Art. You can find great activities for kids on the web just search you local area or try www.activeactivities.com.au If they perform tasks or achieve a reward at training let them indulge in some downtime playing video games after dinner.
Reason #2: Expect them to say no.
Transitioning from one activity to another is difficult for some kids. So instead of demanding that they immediately put down the video game and go outside to play ball, for example, give them a five-minute warning. Consider using a timer if you are met with resistance. “It always works for us when kids are slow to respond or are resistant to activity”
Reason #3: Be a cheerleader.
It’s all about positive encouragement. If you want your child to play sports, be there on the sidelines to cheer them on. That means showing lots of energy and enthusiasm, especially at the beginning of the activity, even if you would rather crash out in front of the television yourself. For example, when asking your child to join you for training or a game of football say, “Come on, get your shoes on. I’ve already got mine on. I’m really excited to play!” Parents are the best motivators as children always look up to them and tend to pick up their habits first. So make sure they are good habits!
Reason #4: Sneak in exercise.
Ask your child to perform chores that require physical activity but that are still fun. For example, washing a car, gardening, or raking leaves will get their hearts pumping. Keep it fun by having a water fight after cleaning the car or having a race to see who can make the biggest heap of leaves. Winner gets to jump in the loser’s pile of leaves.
Reason #5: Benefits.
Getting your child active can be hard but doing the research early can ease some of the pain. Try picking a sport that is not only active and good for a healthy lifestyle, try picking something that has goals and achievements along the way. For example try Martial Arts. This will definitely get them fitter, faster and stronger and they will achieve different belts along the way, motivating them to work harder for the next one.
So before you push your child into something they won’t enjoy try doing a little research and find something the whole family can enjoy. Remembering the more boxes you tick the less if feels like a chore and the more it feels like a reward and a lifestyle.