While many people get their children into sports or martial arts, some children just aren’t athletes. Regardless of what your child likes to do, it’s important that you show your child the importance of staying active. Even if your child is already involved in some type of physical activity, there’s always room for more. Here are a few ways to get started on getting your child active:
Talk to your child’s doctor.
If you have a conversation with your child’s doctor about physical activity, you and your child can gain a better grasp of why physical activity is so important. The doctor may also be able to suggest a sport or physical activity that is best for your child.
Pick an activity that is appropriate for your child’s age.
It’s important that before enrolling your child in an activity, you make sure the activity is developmentally appropriate. A 7-year-old child is not ready for some of the workout activities that adults do, such as long runs or weight lifting. Bicycle riding, swimming and playing soccer are all activities that children can do.
Play with your child.
Children always love when their parents get involved in the activities they partake in. Have a game of catch with your child or suggest a family hike. You don’t need to enroll your child in classes or get a lot of equipment to get your child active. Getting involved sets a good example.
Give your kid positive feedback.
If your child masters a certain exercise or perfects a handstand, make sure to congratulate your child on a job well done. If your child is not particularly in shape, make sure to encourage your child on even the smallest milestones. Make sure you acknowledge that your child has chosen to be active and work on improving a skill. This is an accomplishment on its own.
Use exercise as a reward rather than a punishment.
Some parents force their children to go outside, which can lead to resistance. No child should feel like exercise is a punishment. Instead of saying “drop and give me 20”, make activity a reward. Let your child play kickball for 20 minutes as a break from homework.
Limit screen time.
One of the main things keeping children inside and on the couch is the availability of entertainment on so many different screens. Whether your child likes playing video games, watching TV or surfing the web, make sure your child gets no more than one to two hours of screen time a day. A number of children spend more than four hours in front of a screen each day. Find alternatives such as shooting hoops, playing tag or even walking the family dog. To keep your child from being too tempted by screens, take TVs out of bedrooms and put the computer in a shared area so that you can supervise.
It’s crucial that you teach your child the importance of a healthy lifestyle from a young age. Whether your child is an athlete or not, there are many ways to get your child moving.