Obesity in children is at record levels and rising. The problem with kids fitness (or lack thereof) is largely attributed to a lack of exercise.
I know, you’re probably thinking that persuading your kids to get up and move is easier said than done — but it’s not impossible.
If you’re trying to limit your kids’ screen time this summer, start planning fun exercises and ways to get your kids active now.
Here are 5 easy ways to lure your kids into exercising by offering incentives, setting up homemade activities, joining in the fun yourself — and a few other ideas.
Ways To Get Your Kids To Exercise
#1 – Provide Fun New Activities
Your children may not be the sporty type, but all kids love to have fun.
A new challenging activity will get them leaping to their feet — and if it’s right for them, they’ll soon be hooked.
Next time you’re racking your brain for birthday presents, search online for fun activities to suit your budget. Simple items — such as kites, stilts, and hula hoops — can be as much fun as sophisticated games and gifts.
Here are some ideas to plan your kids fitness routines:
- Lay some logs across the lawn for jumping between and sliding over.
- Hang a tire from a tree for an improvised swing.
- Cut some slit wedges in the trunk of a tree for climbing.
- Fix a bar in a doorway and a thick mat on the floor for gymnastics.
- Set up a long jump competition or obstacle course races in your backyard for competitive fun.
My friend put up a badminton net in her backyard recently for a cookout she was having. She left it up and said her 10-year old wants to play badminton all the time now instead of playing Mario Cart!
TIP: Engage your child and ask your kids what they consider fun exercises. (You might be surprised.)
#2 – Have Great Incentives
Any exercise, however minor, will burn calories. Think of some incentives to lure your kids up from the sofa (or wherever they’re lounging).
Here are some great ways to make exercise for kids fun:
- If you have a snack for them, put it in another room as far away as possible for them to go and eat. Or, ask them to enjoy snacks outside.
- Set time limits on TV and computer use, and pick a late start time — so they can do something active first. You might even want to shut off the Internet in your home during certain times.
- Give TV viewing time or computer playing time as rewards for more energetic pastimes that they partake in — such as outdoor exercises, hobbies, or light tasks around the house.
- Use irresistible incentives like a picnic or a treasure hunt to entice them to go with you on family walks.
Download this free nature scavenger hunt to excite your kids!
#3 – Let Them Help
Children enjoy helping. So invite yours to give you a hand with safe household tasks — such as sweeping steps, vacuuming floors, and polishing windows.
They’ll enjoy helping you outside, too. Have them sweep the sidewalk or pull weeds from the flowerbeds.
Not sure what chores are appropriate for your kids? Use this age-appropriate chore chart to help you get started.
- If the car needs cleaned, call on your children’s expert sponging techniques to help you.
- If you’re walking the dog, tell them you’d be glad for their company and for their help with throwing a ball to the dog.
Here are some other ways to get the kids to help out around the house.
Just remember to tell them how wonderful it would be to have their help and how clever they’d be at the job. Then, remember to pour on the praise afterwards (so they’ll come back for more).
#4 – Avoid Using The Car
If you drive your children to school every day, consider whether they could feasibly walk to school instead. If they’re reluctant, make the case for saving gas — or say you’re tired of driving. With a chat, a joke, and a game along the way, your kids may start to enjoy the walks.
Fresh air and exercise will boost up their hearts and brains ready for the day ahead.
If you live in a rural area (like I did growing up), encourage your kids to ride their bike. This is another great way to incorporate kids fitness into the daily routine.
Be sure to go over these tips for safe bike riding with your kids first.
#5 – Join In Yourself
Your children may seem independent, but you’ll be surprised how much they value your company when you join in their games!
Kicking the ball around the backyard is a whole lot more fun when you come out to play, watch, and learn what your children are doing.
Let them teach you some skills, and be sure to admire theirs. Ask the kids what they’d like to play with you and they won’t even realize that they’re exercising.
Making exercise for kids a family affair is a super effective way to get them to join in and create memories! And kids are never too old for silly games — especially when mom or dad are involved.
A few reminders when providing fun fitness for kids:
- Provide a safe environment. Make sure your child’s equipment, clothing, and chosen site for the activity are safe ones.
- Provide active toys. Young children especially need easy access to balls, jump ropes, and other active toys.
- Be a role model. Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to do so themselves.
How about some family outings or participating in community activities? They don’t have to cost money. A run in the park together or a game of hide and seek can be both fun… and rewarding!
These 9 family fun runs would be great for your family to participate in together.
There are plenty of ways to keep your children active, slim, and fit. But remember, kids learn by example — so a laying the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle is up to you.
The best way to encourage them is to keep active yourself and involve them whenever possible. Make activities fun and easy, and they’ll soon forget that computer screen (for at least a little bit of the day).
Is Your Child Overweight?
Are you concerned about your child’s weight?
Excess weight in a child can be mistaken for baby fat until it becomes a serious problem.
Making sure children get an hour of activity a day can improve their health and help instill good behaviors. Developing a love of exercise in children remains especially important because the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 17% of 2 to 19-year-olds (12.7 million children) are obese. Source
Regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet, will keep your kids in top form and feeling great.
Of course, getting them up and moving can be easier said than done (especially when they’re absorbed in a computer game), but I’m here to help.
Use this online calculator to determine optimal weight for every child (including teenagers) in your home.
More Fun Exercises To Increase Kids Fitness
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are a few more with helpful tips for getting your kids more active and involved:
- List Of Fun Exercises For Kids
- 10 Easy At-Home Fun Exercises You Can Do With Kids
- Working Out With Kids: Great Exercises Anyone Can Do At Home