5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Exercise Too!
To get your kids loving anything, it has to be fun and exciting with lots of variety. Exercise is no different. It’s time to mix it up, for their health and yours. Let’s put down the screens and get moving with these 5 ways to get your kids to love exercise too.
Make it a game
Make exercise fun by adding in playful elements with a dose of healthy competition. Classic backyard games like tag, hide and seek, or tossing a ball around can keep the younger ones engaged. For older kids and pre-teens try more dynamic games like an obstacle course, trampoline or fort building.
Give them choices
As you’ve probably learned already with clothing and food, giving your child options can go a long way. Give your kids the ability to choose what they’d like to do. By giving your child a sense of control they learn what it’s like to make their own decisions, while also building critical thinking, verbalising their wants, and discovering what they enjoy. Ask what job they would like to assist with your workout, like tossing the medicine ball back and forth during crunches or being your little kettlebell. What child doesn’t like swings?!
The imagination of a child is boundless. They love travelling out of the real world to the land of make-believe as much as possible. You witness their creativity daily so encourage it, get as excited about it as they are. Ask questions based on their interests, ‘can you see the huge dinosaurs in the distance’, ‘how fast can you race these cars’, ‘what colour is your mermaid tale’, ‘who wants to go exploring for unicorns’. They will be your guides with this one so follow their lead and embrace your inner-child.
Nature, nature, nature
One of the best ways to reduce stress, boost immunity, improve coordination, and increase curiosity and problem-solving is by getting outside (David Suzuki Foundation). There are so many options to have fun and exercise outdoors, without it feeling like work:
- Play on the jungle gym at the local park
- Visit the neighbourhood splash pad
- Take a trip to your closest provincial park
- Create a nature scavenger hunt, i.e. use plant identification guides appropriate for kids
- Ride bikes or scooters
- Draw a chalk-obstacle course
- Play catch or tennis
- Plant a garden
- Hide and seek
- Shoot hoops
- Fly a kite
Boost their self-confidence
The memories of awkwardly struggling through gym class may still be strong. Raise a kid that loves to be active by creating a positive, uplifting environment with lots of encouragement. Exercise can be a great self-esteem booster! Be mindful of praising effort over outcome. Congratulate them on how hard they hit the ball, or how fast they tried to run around those bases. Learning a new skill through activity can be empowering and motivating. If they are tentative at first, keep the praise up and they will start to feel good about themselves. Be body positive – exercise at all life stages and sizes.
The benefits of exercise range from building healthy bones and muscles to reducing high blood pressure and getting deep, adequate sleep. It can also reduce anxiety, and tension while increasing self-esteem, attention and behaviour. Create healthy habits for your family today and the benefits will last a lifetime.