While physical activity in children is significant in their growth and development, only a few get the privilege of staying active all year round.
Encouraging physical activity in children is one natural gift parents can afford their children in the wake of rising cases of lifestyle diseases such as childhood obesity.
Surprisingly, out of three children, only one is physically active in a day and not obese. Furthermore, less than 50% of the children engage in sedentary activities including binge-watching of TV, playing computer and video games, and interacting with their smartphones.
Imagine your child suddenly turning into unhealthy couch potatoes thanks to the sedentary lifestyle, not the best feeling or one to be proud of as a parent.
It is simple, without some activity, the calories are not burnt, and they eventually turn into fat. It is therefore very critical to find different ways of encouraging your child to be active. Remember, staying active has some benefits including:
- Healthy weight maintenance.
- Lower risk of childhood obesity.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improved cognitive and physical development.
- Strong muscles and bones.
- High immunity.
You are probably wondering how to make a lazy child active. Well, there are different approaches when it comes to encouraging physical activity in children. You need to find different ways of making physical activity a part of your child’s life. Let us get started and see what fits for your child.
1. Schedule an appointment with the Doctor
Your doctor understands the child better, especially if they have been around them from birth onwards. Scheduling an appointment to discuss some of the best approaches given the knowledge of the physical and emotional aspects of the child will go a long way in helping you plan different activities.
The doctor can suggest activities such as swimming, bowling, tennis, cycling, jogging, walking, martial arts, yoga, and skating, among others.
Remember, the views of the doctor are expert views, and you should be keen when implementing them to avoid adverse outcomes. The doctor can also advise you on the best diet or supplements for your child in the fitness tracking and activity journey.
2. Be your Child’s Role Model
Children are very good at imitating and adapting to different programs, especially those introduced by the parents. Always ensure that your child sees you engaging in a variety of physical activities and workouts, it makes them programmed to stay active. For instance, when jogging always make sure your child also does the same.
You can go for morning walks together, walk the dog together, and when doing so encourage the active culture in them. It might also interest you to wear the activity trackers or fitness trackers.
It is important to let them know the importance of exercise and its relationship with health as well as all these gadgets and wearables during exercises.
Of course, your child is psyched up and is likely to follow suit. Even better, you can engage and show interest in some of the kid’s physical activities and in the process inspire them.
There are countless activities that you and your child can participate in, combined with the fun comes some bonding and burning of calories. Sometimes, just let the car stay at home and cover some miles with your kid (s).
3. Schedule Exercises for Your Kids
No doubt, children always have a busy schedule and you too as a parent could be in a fix when it comes to free time. There is always a lot to do when you come from work, or even to get your hands on when you work from home.
Besides, the kids could be having homework and some extracurricular activities making it difficult to slot in just 60 minutes for exercise. Good news! You can make this easy by ensuring that the 60 minutes of physical activity is spread throughout the entire day.
You could do 10-minute jogging or walk in the morning, some 20 minutes on bike riding to and from school, and the rest on playing some sport in the lawn.
A schedule helps the child to get involved and is a step in encouraging physical activity in children without interrupting their normal plans for the day.
Ordinarily, when the child participates actively in their exercise regimen, reward and praise them often. It is important to ensure that your child chooses the activity that interests him or her.
Most families are embracing family bike touring as a means of getting the kids active, fit, and healthy.
4. Monitor and Track Kid's Activity
Children are very cunning and only behave themselves when they are being watched. Therefore, it is important to monitor the time that the children spend in sedentary activities.
Always ensure that the kids do not spend more than two hours on video games or TV daily. Minimizing their inactive time helps achieve the daily targets of burning some calories.
One way of tracking the activity of your kids is to use activity trackers for kids, which come in different models and pricing but worth every of your penny.
However, always remember that children are a little bit picky about how they spend their free time, try to engage them because forcing them will create bad behavior.
Convince them more by emphasizing the benefits of exercises and staying active.
5. Get the child a Pet or Pets
As part of encouraging physical activity in children, parents who have switched off TVs and computers for pet play sessions have recorded positive health results in their children.
In fact, children like playing with a pet and might consider it more compared to video games. Have the kid take the dog for swimming, throw a ball at the dog or play with the cat.
On the same note, encourage the games to take place outdoors to enable them to interact with their peers.
6. Take Your Child to the Park or Playground
Children are very social beings compared to adults. There is a higher probability that when you take them to a common public amenity such as a park, the beach, or a playground, they will make friends and actively interact. It is always good timing to bring along the bikes to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Such places are spacious, free from physical barriers, and have different structures to help your kid stay active. Take a ball with you and play with your child together or with other interested families am sure it will be a memorable experience.
7. Enroll Your Child to After School Physical Activity Classes
Forget the physical education curricula of the school your child is attending. Instead, focus more on enrolling your child to after-school physical activity sessions such as dancing, swimming, and football or hockey among other activities.
The after-school sessions can complement the in-class sessions in school where there is minimal activity. Research shows that recess and P.E are important in fighting childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes as well as other associated weight-related disorders, the activities have been sidelined by busy timetables.
Therefore, you would be doing your kid a great favor by introducing them to a coach or a fitness trainer after school. Again, this depends on your availability and proximity of such areas from your place. However, for your kid’s fitness, I am sure you can sacrifice everything.
8. Have a Family Fun Day/Outing
You can from now on choose that the family vacations, picnics, and weekend outings are full of physical activities. Instead of the movies, you can decide to go hiking, fishing, swimming, or camping.
You can carry along a trampoline and have the kids jump on it or even ride bikes in the wild. Better yet, the kids can fly the kites in the camping fields and play with the dog.
Amazingly, such fun activities become part of the norms for the kids as they grow. You end up with healthy and fit kids whose development is assured. Making fitness fun for the whole family can go a long way toward ensuring children stay active.
This important strategy works well in encouraging physical activity in younger children.
9. Controlling Sedentary Activities
Currently getting a kid off sedentary activities is very hard. However, you can easily divert the attention of the children from such activities as a means of encouraging physical activity in Children.
Confiscating phones, computers, iPods, video games, smartphones, and switching off the TV for a given time will leave them with no option other than stay active. Create strict rules on the use of different devices say playing video games only 2 hours daily. You can choose to allow the watching of TV between eight and 10 am.
You can also replace video games with active video games where the kids can interact physically. Also, ask for help from the children when doing some household chores, which also makes them responsible and dependable while at a young age.
10. Invest in Different Materials and Products
From toys to activity trackers and fitness trackers, there are many ways to encourage your kids to stay active.
Spend some dime in getting your skipping ropes, balls, bikes, helmets, and trampoline that will cheer up your child to stay active. Amazingly, there are also devices that you can use to monitor the activity of the children even in water such as waterproof smartwatches or waterproof activity trackers.
Just ensure that you get your kids something that can encourage them to stay active. As a parent, you understand the tastes and preferences of your kid; you can opt for branded of fashionable activity trackers with their preferred movie characters.
Also, you can choose different types of bikes for your kids.
Other Alternative Evidence-Based Methods of Keeping Kids Active
Anecdotal evidence document volunteering, gardening, and crafting as alternative ways to get kids active.
Volunteering is a proven way that helps kids build character and empathy. It helps kids grow to know their place in society and how they can help others who are in need.
Volunteering within the community and in the society at a tender age, build individuals who are responsible and disciplined. While it is a peculiar method to develop social skills, it also makes the kids active.
Even when volunteering, your kids need to have the proper gear to ensure their full functionality. Using some gadgets such as smartwatches and fitness trackers for kids could also help spice up the whole thing.
With the age of digital revolution in every aspect of our lives, we quickly forget gardening as a significant physical activity. It is every parent’s dream to raise an eco-conscious kid and a child who values agriculture. Well, that is probably the reason we consider a kitchen garden when sourcing for our potential homes.
Trust me; it has made me break deals of homeownership and settle for homes with a garden. While gardening assures the family of nutritious meals, it can also help children stay active. Starting small means a lot for the kids and who knows, they can grow up to be large scale agro-entrepreneurs.
Engaging the kids in different gardening activities prepares them to understand where the food comes from. The kids also get a chance to exercise and engage different parts of their muscles in different gardening activities. Gardening also helps the kids to develop a sense of responsibility: they can easily take care of living things.
It helps develop fine motor skills and can help kick away childhood obesity and related diseases. The most important thing is that as you become a role model gardener to your kids, get the kids the best tools to help them practice what they see.
Yes, you read that right. It is weird to even think of crafting at this digital age. But look, it is one of the surest ways we can engage kids in physical activity. How so? Children are industrious beings and getting them challenged keeps them on their toes.
It entails simulating different stuff and is a process proven to build creativity and innovativeness in children-killing three birds in one stone, Yay! You need to get your kids the necessary materials to help them create stuff.
They can create different creations including tree houses, rabbit or pet houses, join toys, join shapes into different structures, and even create bird feeders. Ensure that they engage in such activities with their friends.
Create distances between the materials and the workstations for them to work out some of their muscles. Crafting helps build focus, decision-making, critical thinking, and creativity in kids.
Get your kid active with these alternative ways to make them happy individuals when they grow, won’t you!
Our Parting Shot: Get the Kids Active Now!
In summary, these 10 ways tips for encouraging physical activity in children are a game-changer to your child. A fit child is a happy child, and that translates to a happy world.
Become a champion to your child at a deserving age and enjoy their changed behavior and discipline for the rest of your life. However, even when following these ten tips, when your child begins engaging in different activities tell him or her to listen to their body.
This enables them to exercise within the confines of their energy, strength, and endurance. Be sure to replace a hurting physical activity should immediately be replaced by another one that is less demanding. When worn-out the child should take a rest and replenish.
It is significant to maintain healthy body weight; an abrupt weight drop could be detrimental to your child. You always need to talk to a doctor to schedule activities according to the age and other variables. It is useful to implement a balanced diet and promote healthy eating habits as a foundation for an active and healthy life.
The diet helps children who are already obese. It is never too late to start, start now with what you can get and advance your child through different levels of physical activities. The same tips apply when encouraging children to exercise or encouraging physical activity in childcare centers, as they are cool ways of motivating kids to be active.