Every parent wants their child to live a healthy, disease-free life. One way to do this is by encouraging your little ones to ditch the video games for a little while and get out of the house to play. Unhealthy weight gain can negatively impact your child’s life by putting them at risk of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses. The earlier you can start a pattern of healthy living and daily exercise, the easier it will be for your child to reach their fullest and healthiest potential.
Motivating your kids to get off the couch and get active doesn’t have to be an uphill battle every time. In fact, encouraging your little one to get some fresh air might be just what they want! Here are 10 ways on how you can get your kids to exercise and enjoy spending time outside.
1. Teach the Importance of Healthy Living
Your children’s willingness to get active will begin to improve once they can understand the benefits of exercising. When your little one starts asking questions about their body and muscles, take the opportunity to teach them about the importance of being strong and healthy. After an exercise, ask your little one to tell you how they think the activities have made them feel.
In most cases, your child will tell you they feel like they have so much energy, and are more alert than before. From there you can now slowly build on that list and educate them on the many other benefits they are bound to enjoy if they continue to engage in physical activities. In this way, your kids, even when they are older, will make exercising a habit.
2. Be an Example
Before your child is even born you can begin to make exercising part of your daily routine. Talk to your doctor about when you can begin exercising again after having a baby. Since kids will want to be like you, do things as you do, in this case, it may be very wise to start working out as soon as you can. If your kids see you living a physically active life, then persuading them to exercise will be very easy.
However, be sure to pick an activity that is age appropriate. For instance, if your little one is 7 years old, he is not ready to start lifting weights or engaging in marathons. Instead, they could play soccer, swim or even ride a bike.
3. Limit Screen Time
According to experts, kids should only have one to two hours of screen time daily. Screen time includes the time spent on a computer, watching television or playing a video game. However, kids nowadays are having a screen time of up to four to five hours and more.
This could turn your little one to a couch potato, which in turn makes them gain unhealthy weight. Limiting screen time will only work so much, remember to be effective at changing habits you will have to replace what you take away. Which leads to the next part of being creative.
4. Buy Outdoor Toys
Once you have limited their screen time, replace their devices with a new outdoor toy. All kids love exploring new toys. An active child is equal to a healthy child, for this reason, be sure to buy toys such as jump ropes, soccer balls, all of which will encourage your kid to be active. Learn their personalities and find out what they like doing outside.
5. Exercise Efficiently
Exercising doesn’t always have to be a chore, make it part of your day. When taking your kids to school, to the park or to visit friends or family, consider doing some exercise during this time. Instead of driving them, encourage them to walk, ride a bike or even skate to their destination. Every minute spent exercising helps.
If you are a new mom, you can still get out and exercise by going on light walks around the block or taking a stroll on the beach. One time-saving tip will be to pump milk before you leave the house. This way all the time saved from skipping breastfeeding will give you more time with your little one outdoors. You can also make special arrangements with a babysitter to make sure you include outdoor playtime while you are gone so you can check off multiple items on your mommy to-do list and feel good knowing your time is being well spent.
6. Make Exercise Time Fun
Kids just like every other human being, have their own interests. While you may be very interested in organized sports, for example, baseball, your little one may feel drawn to something different. If your little one enjoys swimming or dancing, then these are the activities you should encourage them to do more often as they are also some form of exercise.
7. Invite Other Families to Join You
Kids love engaging in fun activities alongside their friends. For this reason, you should consider planning activities and inviting your kid’s friends for example, you could plan a fun hike with the kids. They will all be excited and look forward to getting active.
8. Go to Different Places
One of the ways you can make exercising fun is to try going to new places for your child to explore. Try going to a beach, a new park, or drive to another town and find a place to play. Spending time exploring new places with your children cannot only encourage more time spent outdoors, but it can also be a great way to bond with your children.
9. Stick to a Schedule
Every person tends to stick to a schedule without deviating from it. For this reason, come up with a fitness routine, set the time and choose the place where the entire family will participate. Be sure to indicate it on the family calendar where all can see and commit to your plan. You could consider outdoor activities such as bike riding or racing as a family. However, if the weather is not so favorable, instead of ditching exercise that day, choose alternative activities you can do indoors such as a family dancing competition.
If you feel like you are running out of ideas, then ask your kids to suggest some active games or activities they would like you to try out as a family. In such a case, exercise becomes fun and something all your kids look forward to doing. Also, you get to bond and spend more time together as a family
10. Get a Dog
If all else fails, you may need the help of a furry four-legged friend. If you are able to handle the responsibilities of owning a dog, consider making the addition to your family. Owning a family pet can help your little one bond with a furry friend and encourage play time outdoors. Having a family dog will also teach your children responsibilities and make playtime fun.
When considering a family dog do your research on which breed would be best for your family. Some families will enjoy the company of small lap dogs and others will like larger guard dogs to protect the house and run outdoors for long periods of time.
When you are planning to get a dog make your child be part of the selection process. This way your little one can make a connection with your pup and will want to be outside going for walks without you pulling them away from their screens yourself.
About The Author:
Hello, my name is Natalie and I am the owner of MaternityatHome. In the day I am a General Physician and at night I am a devout mother of two. I am always busy but I do love sharing all my knowledge and experience with other mothers or mothers-to-be out there!