Exercise is important for everyone to do, regardless of their age and when it comes to children, they rely on you to be encouraging and to also give them the opportunity to exercise on a daily basis, something I believe we have all been made more aware of during the past year of lockdown. Previously we may have relied on schools and extra-mural activities to ensure our children exercise, but with so many of us in enforced lockdowns, motivating our child to exercise has been a challenge! There are many ways that exercise can be incorporated in day to day activities. In this collaborative post, we share 6 ways to motivate your child to exercise.
How To Motivate Your Child To Exercise More
Here are six tips to encourage exercise with your children so that they can continue to be healthy and stay fit beyond their childhood. Remember, it’s not just about them exercising, it’s about you too. You have to show them the way, motivate and encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle.
Be A Role Model
Your child absorbs everything from a young age, and that includes looking towards you as their role model for everything in life. *Oh the pressure!* The things that you do are going to affect the decisions or actions they make in some way. You want to set an example of exercise by doing it yourself with them, actively, from a young age. It doesn’t need to be too intense, but if they see that you are going for a run every regularly or attending a fitness class, they will slowly understand and learn that exercise is a part of everyday life.
It can be hard to exercise as an adult, especially as there are many other things to manage and juggle, like your work life and family life. However, by making that extra bit of effort to exercise yourself, even if it just a daily walk to get your steps in, it’s going to help make it easier for your children to enjoy getting their exercise in as well, so always lead by example when you’re influencing your children to act or be a certain way.
Focus On Making The Activity Fun
Exercise, for many, is a boring thing but that’s usually because the exercise itself isn’t something they enjoy. When you do exercise, you want to be doing something that will bring you joy, rather than be so boring that every minute is a slow and agonizing one for you. For children, this can be even more challenging because their attention span is short. And that means you have to keep them engaged in whatever they’re doing.
If you’ve tried some forms of exercise already, pay attention to how much enjoyment your child is getting out of it. Chances are, they may show it very clearly in their face and attitude towards the exercise. If they don’t like it, then it’s important not to force them to see otherwise. Even as young children, they still need to make their own choices instead of relying on the parents to make the decisions for them.
Make exercise a fun activity to do and you’ll get a lot more eagerness from your children as a result. Making sure the activitiy is fun is always a great way to motivate your child to exercise and to learn.
Make It A Group Exercise
Group exercises are a great way to make it more enjoyable, and if you’re a family unit that is free during the exercise taking place, then why not do it together? If that’s not possible, then a visit to the park to play with some sports equipment or buying an indoor climbing frame can provide you with the opportunity to exercise as a family.
Exercising as a family provides more motivation for everyone in general. If a parent is working out, the child will want to get involved too and vice versa. It helps to maintain the effort of energy you put into the exercise, and therefore, you get more out of it as a result.
It’s also a bonding experience by doing the exercise together and if you’re not available to do group exercise all the time, get them involved in an exercise that involves other people, like a sports team for example.
Use Competition As A Motivator
Everyone likes a bit of friendly competition. Competition can be a great motivator to work out. Families always love to challenge one another and attempt to beat the family member they’re going up against for opportunities to gloat and rub it in their faces, in a loving family way. So with that being said, if you find your children getting bored of a particular exercise, make it into a game or a competition where the winner either gets the fame and glory of a win or gets to decide on something done as a family. This can be a great way to motivate your child to exercise. These little tweaks and changes that you make to the exercise will make it more enjoyable as a whole.
Sometimes, children need a bit more convincing when it comes to exercise because you can’t guarantee that they’re going to wake up every day and listen to what you want them to do. So with that being said, you might want to twist their arms a little bit by rewarding exercise with a treat. Try to avoid anything junk food-related that’s going to counter-act what your child has just done in exercise. However, a trip to the cinema or an equally enjoyable venue or experience is something that you can give your children as a reward for doing the exercise.
It’s also reinforcing this idea that if you do something good or follow what’s being told of them in an authoritative position, it usually ends up with rewards, like their future career for example.
Limit Technology Time & Increase Outdoor Play
Technology is all around us and so it’s quite difficult to avoid it, especially for the younger generations. They’re growing up with it and so it’s important to try and limit technology time where you can and replace that with outdoor play. It’s important for your children to have fun outdoors and to enjoy nature, rather than seeing it through a screen. Try to limit the amount of technology time that they have and hopefully this should be healthier for them both mentally but also in the fitness that they get on a daily basis.
Encouraging your children to exercise is essential, but sometimes you need to motivate your child to exercise too, so make sure you’re being active in keeping them fit and healthy on a regular basis.