Guest post from Hilary Smith
Getting your kids to exercise can be a daily struggle, especially if they would rather watch TV or play video games all day. Exercise should not be an order — thought of as another chore. In fact, you will find you can be more successful motivating your kids to exercise by sneaking it in during their day — without pointing out that what they are doing is exercise.
There are so many fun and easy ways to get your kids moving every day, without having to spend money on exercise classes, and the following list will help to get you started.
1) Turn chores into a competition
This is a good one because you will hit two birds with one stone. A little friendly competition between siblings is the dose you need here to get your kids to move and hurry about the house so they can ‘win’. In the process, you will also have a cleaner house!
2) Choose the right video games
If your kids love video games, then download the ones where players have to physically move about to play, such as Pokémon Go. This way, your kids will be moving about while doing what they love.
3) Sneak in exercise during family time
Switch up your family time activities by giving board games and family movies a rest. Instead, go to a park you have never visited before (or try a Park Hop!), bring a ball along and play football, basketball, volleyball or another sport of your choice. You can also hike all the way up to a spot where you can watch the sunset together and bond in nature.
4) Use the dog as an excuse
If you have a dog, then your kids can walk it or join you during these walks. You’ll be sneaking in walking time for them and they will learn how to take care of an animal. Win, win!
5) Play with your old toys
It may have been easier for us to exercise when we were kids because we had toys like the jump rope and hula hoops to entertain us. Got any of those old toys? Get them out of the attic or buy them and show your kids how to double dutch or how to work the hula hoop. By seeing you play and having a laugh with these exercise tools, they may want to join you.
6) Enter exercise competitions for charity
Another great idea to get your kids moving is by entering a competition for charity. This way, your kids will be encouraged to exercise and help people in need.
7) Turn it into a social event
Organizing play dates with their friends is an easy way of making exercise more fun. You will be helping other parents get their children to exercise, too.
8) Use apps to your advantage
There is a large list of free apps that track your activity. You can use these apps to set daily exercise goals that you can reach together as a family. You can also track activity individually if your kids have their own smartphones. At the end of the day, you can measure progress and see who reached their goal.
9) Use exercise to heal
As parents, we know that kids can suffer from stress as much as we do due to social expectations, homework and sometimes even problems in our own family. Rather than giving them food for comfort or other distractions, use exercise to make them feel better mentally and emotionally. Go for long walks together and talk about what’s bothering them, take them to boxing class so they can release their anger in a safe environment or choose any other form of activity that makes them happy.
10) Lead by example
Ultimately, our kids will copy our behavior, so we have to show them exercise is a priority in our life. By choosing to move over watching TV every night or other sedentary activities, we prove to them that exercise really is fun!
Hilary Smith has writing in her blood and telecommunications on her brain. This yoga enthusiast appreciates a daily workout and loves keeping time with her English bulldog, Chauncey. A journalist by day and avid sports fan by night, Hillary keeps abreast of the latest tech gadgets as she focuses in on the field of telecommunications.