The key to keeping kids interested in fitness is to make it fun and relevant. Just don’t call it exercise!
Anyone who has seen children at the local playground knows that most are naturally active and love to run around. However, as they get older, it can be a challenge for kids to get enough daily activity. Busy working families, increasing demands of school, insecurity about sporting ability, and a lack of active role models are some of the reasons why childhood obesity continues to rise.
Despite these challenges, it is still easy to instil a love of activity in a child’s daily life by integrating it into their everyday routine.
When I teach our pre-school LivelyGrooves dance program, the kids have so much fun that they don’t even realise its exercise! Every lesson I make a point of asking the kids how they are feeling. By passionately promoting what we do is fun, the kids quickly discover that not only is active play good for them but also makes them happy!
Trick them into exercise by applying these KISS tips:
Focus on fun – find out which activities your kids enjoy and encourage them to do a little each day. Dance in the living room, explore the outdoors on a family field trip, or go on a scavenger hunt.
Be spontaneous – When my own fitness schedule becomes mundane and routine, I simply loose interest. This is the same for kids, so try to vary the routine and encourage them to try something new. They will be so fixated on exploring all their new senses that they won’t realise that they are exercising.
Create your very own ‘Bucket List’ – keep it on your fridge and tick each activity off as you complete them.
Use a stopwatch – give your kids the responsibility of helping you exercise. This will not only be great encouragement for you but will also give them a sense of purpose. Ask them to hold the stopwatch while you swim laps, or do time trials and races.
Consider your child’s personality – understanding your child’s personality traits, genetics and athletic ability will help you choose the right activity for them, and the one that gives them the most enjoyment.
Choose age appropriate activities – five year olds don’t have the same attention span at teenagers so short bursts of play several times a day is more effective than one long stretch of physical activity.
Get excited and be positive – your positive attitude will have a direct correlation on the children around you. Kids won’t do something that don’t enjoy so make it look like fun!
Healthy, Active, Happy: That’s the Livelyhood way of Living!