It was once just a stereotype and an accepted assumption, but the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says it’s true: when the parent is overweight, their children are likely to be so too. But that doesn’t happen always, only if the family, especially the kids, learn how to exercise.
It can be hard, of course, considering that kids are so hard to motivate. There are always ways to do it, though; there are just things to keep in mind.
Kiddos normally prefer “activities” over conventional exercise. When you want them to jog, they will tell you they prefer to ride a bike. Next thing to keep in mind, when invited by their parents for an exercise, most older kids want to tag their friends along. Third, remember that kids are always more excited when there are goals, specific targets, competition, and progress tracking.
It is important for parents to make sure that they keep track of how their children respond to activities and scenarios. It pays to do this so you can have enough basis on what ways make fitness easy and natural for them.
To make exercising a daily activity for your family, here are ways to help your children be motivated to do it. These are also activities that you can make them do. Don’t worry, all of these are fun and healthy.
Walk the Dog
Don’t take your pets for granted. They are not only guards for your house, they can be part of exercises too. Find a trail in your house that is safe and easy for your kids to take. Who knows, your dog needs exercise too.
Time It Right
It is better to schedule workouts. Choose the time when the family is gathered together like after a family dinner. The time when children just got home from school is good too to help them burn out some of the pent-up energy they got from sitting all day. Just make sure that these schedules are okay with everyone.
Mix It Up
Going to the gym is not the only way to exercise. Play, after all, is a form of exercise too. Bowling is one. Work can be a healthy task as well, like stacking wood and gardening, anything that the whole family can participate in.
Invite Their Friends
What can be more fun for them than allowing their friends to join in? You might have to prepare more snacks, but it’s worth it anyway.
Track Everyone’s Progress
Kids want to be told that they have improved, so it’s better to track their progress and give them a report. It motivates them to do more if ever they find their progress not that satisfying. You can make a chart on what games they’ve won, the speed records they broke, etc. It is a good way to make your family more fitness-oriented.
Whenever there’s an opportunity to exercise with your kids, grab it. If you and your daughter happen to be standing on the same long line, do jumping jacks. If you’re watching TV with your boys, let them do push-ups during commercial breaks. There can be more ways than that, you just have to be, well, a little opportunistic.
Be in Nature
Outdoor activities are way better than the indoor ones. By doing this, they will also get a breath of fresh air and get a touch of healthy sunshine. You can suggest to swap the indoor activities with outdoors.
Give Me Five
Kids hate tedious tasks. If you tell them you’d go on a bike ride around the neighborhood, they’d immediately think it’ll be too long. So trick them into doing it by telling them it’d only take five minutes. They’d surely forget about the five-minute rule, and your activities can even last as long as thirty minutes.
Do It for a Cause
Fundraising activities may be an ear-candy for your kids if you’re a family of good samaritans. For kids who want to help others, this can get them motivated. Do a research about local organizations that are hosting walks for a cause, then ask your friends and relatives to sponsor your family. If there are no projects at the time, you can just organize your own. That way, they will be more involved.
If you prefer your activities scheduled, make a structured one. Come up with a fixed schedule that is based on your family’s available time and write it on your family calendar. Find ways to get them committed to following that schedule. In case of some unseen circumstances like a bad weather, find ways to cover it up by making a plan B for every activity. If you can’t go on a bike ride because it’s raining, then do a round of tennis indoor instead.
Let Them Pick
Kids want to “customize” everything. Use it to have them participate in your exercises. Have them think of what exercises you can do for the week. You’ll be surprised at how creative they can be.
Put It in Writing
A written agreement is sometimes hard to break. Make a contract where every rule and every goal is laid down, then have everyone sign it. Post it someplace where everyone can see it so your kids can be reminded about it every time.
Big things start from small beginnings, and it applies in your family exercises too. Don’t make a goal that is impossible to achieve. What’s more important is that a task is completed and not the size of it.
Think Outside the Box
Be more innovative with how you choose your family activities. Don’t limit yourself to those that are just fit for a particular weather. More so, don’t limit your options to what are just easy to do. For example, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to go swimming. Just becuase it’s summer doesn’t require you to go on a picnic and play Frisbee. Come up with something new, like a challenge that the whole family has never taken on. You can organize a competition too, your kids versus you, their parents.
Merely hearing the word “exercise” often makes kids frown, but there are always ways to get them do it. Try these ideas and create the most amazing family bonding time ever.