Creative Ways for Kids to Be Active
Who says exercise is boring? Here are some fun and clever ways to get your kids moving.
If your child is struggling with obesity, they’re not alone. In the United States, 18.5% of children ages 2 to 19 are obese and that number increases to 20% for teenagers. Unfortunately, obesity isn’t a benign condition. It increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, breathing and joint problems, and psychological struggles.
There are a lot of factors that affect obesity, but not getting enough exercise is one of the leading issues. Consider some of these ideas to help get your child excited about moving:
Make their morning routine a race
See which child can get ready first—because there’s nothing like a little competition (and maybe a reward) to spark some motivation. If your children’s morning routines don’t include moving around, throw in a task that requires going up and down the stairs. Declare the winner of the day and make it a big deal.
Utilize family time
If family bonding usually involves watching a movie or sitting around talking, switch things up. Go on a walk after dinner, play a sport together, or go swimming. Or when the weather is bad and going outside isn’t a good option, start a family tradition of playing sock hockey inside.
Related: Helping Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Learn something together
Pick an activity that interests you and your child and that neither of you know how to do. This is your chance to learn something together—like skateboarding or rock climbing. Your kid will probably enjoy watching you make a fool of yourself, and you’ll get to spend time with them and be active together.
Include it in the chore chart
This may not be the right approach for everyone because you don’t want your child to hate exercising, but if they’re motivated by finishing tasks on their chart, it may be a great fit. Including it in their daily chores will help develop a habit quickly.
Find the right activity for them
It may go without saying, but if your child has no interest in playing basketball, forcing them to play basketball isn’t going to be motivation to move. If conventional sports are not their interest, there are plenty of other options that might be more interesting to them, such as:
- Aerobatics class
- Horseback riding
- Ultimate frisbee or frisbee golf
- Martial arts
Slip it into your errands
Going to the store may not be the workout your child needs, but it’s better than nothing. Bring them to the store with you and let them be your runner to get the far away items. Finding ways to walk or bike to complete your errands will also help being active seem less like a chore.
Get involved in a lifelong sport
If you can help your child get interested in a lifelong sport (ones that are easy to maintain after they are out of high school), it will be easier for them to carry on the practice for years to come. These are sports like swimming or tennis that don’t involve an entire team and are easier on the joints.
Make screen time active
For children really interested in video games, add some video games that require them to be active into their screen-time sessions. It’s a win-win for you both.
Every child is different so be willing to try multiple options to incorporate more activity.
What’s your child’s favorite activity? Tell us on Facebook—we’d love to hear from you. And while you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.