We always see reasons and tips of ways to keep ourselves active, whether at the workplace or during our downtime at home, but we hardly ever hear about real, tried and true ways to help keep our kids active. Most of us have had that slightly jealous thought about that person we see jogging every morning on our way to work, or how we hear of our neighbor’s 4 days a week they spend at the gym. But, one thing we may not realize is that their love of fitness was most likely instilled upon them from a young age. So, how do we get our kids away from their screen and loving exercise and fitness? In addition to checking out Authority Health for tips and tricks, you can follow these ways to help make fitness fun.
Set an Example
While this one may be difficult for us, it is by far the most important. There is a quote by James Baldwin, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” We can tell our children all the time to go outside and play, or to go for a bike ride, but if they only ever see us plop down in front of the TV or computer after a long day at work, their first choice will always be to reach for the remote.
Instead, make a fun family time out of doing activity together. Is there an ice cream parlor that’s in walking or biking distance of your house? After dinner, take a family trip there! While ice cream cannot be an everyday treat, it does serve as the perfect reason to get your family together to add in that extra bit of fitness into your life. If you’re not into sweet treats, take your dog for a walk to the park or indulge in a family basketball or football game in the backyard. If your kids see you joining in the fun and stepping away from the screen, you’ll start to notice they will soon be the ones asking for this fun outside activity time.
Follow Their Hearts
One great way to ensure your kids will stay active is to enroll them in some sort of sport. But, it is also important to remember, if your child doesn’t like what he or she is doing, they won’t be as keen to participate. Just because there is a new soccer league opening a few blocks from your house does not mean your kid is the next soccer star. Speak openly with your child about their hobbies. Would they prefer to do something off the field, like dance, rock climbing, or martial arts? All of these are great ways to have a weekly active activity while not necessarily needed to join a team on a field. Allowing your child a choice in what they do gives them the chance to be invested in the activity as well. While this may take some trial and error, help your child to find what activity is right for them.
Limit Screen Time
This may seem impossible, but it is an essential gift that you can give your child. By only giving children 30-60 minutes per day they can use a screen, they will be forced to use their imagination and find other ways to spend their time. When implementing a rule like this, it is important to be strict at the beginning. After their time is up, take away cell phones, tablets, computer and tv access, and any other ways they have of accessing some form of screen. Being strict at the beginning of this new rule will help to set boundaries and allow your children to know that you are serious. Once they have gotten used to the rule, you can lighten up occasionally. If they have a favorite show they want to watch, allow them a little extra time to relax, or if you want to do a weekly movie night, allow them the extra time so they can have their own leisure time as well as join in on family time. While the strict rule will allow your kids to understand some boundaries are not meant to be questioned, lightening up after will allow your kids to understand that you only want what is best for them.