I have to admit, getting my children to be more active is yet another area of parenting where I don’t feel I have it all together. Yes my two younger children play soccer year round and my older one runs a few days a week but yet still some weeks I find there are more days where they sat inside all afternoon after their school was done than there were days where I got them outside and moving.
However when I am really diligent and I put into effect these 10 ways to get your children to be more active steps we do all become more active.
1. Limit Screen Time
If you want your children to move more make sure that they have plenty of time to do so by limiting their screen time.
2.Create A Fun Back Yard
I wrote an entire post on this during my Summer Family Fun Series. One thing I would add is make sure that you update the activities available in your yard as your children age. Our family is currently in the process of redoing our yard to incorporate more fun activities for our children who are now all 10 years and older including small trampoline and a playground update.
If you want your children to be active you have to be active. Moms and Dads get out there and move. Walk, run, bike, jump rope, whatever you like to do and if you don’t know what that is keep trying new things until you find something you love.
4.Do it with them
I run with my eldest son and ride bikes with all my children. Children often find more fun in the activity if you join in.
5.Make it part of their every day routine
Make sure that your children get out there and do something daily whether it be kicking a soccer ball around, or playing on the swing set or going on an after dinner bike ride with you. Start with the goal of 15 minutes a day and work up until you have them active for at least an hour a day every day.
6.Encourage them to set BIG goals
My eldest wants to run a marathon the year he graduates. My youngest wants to run a half-marathon the year she graduates and my middle child thinks a long bike trip for graduation would be cool.
With these goals in mind they are all striving to get fit enough to make their goals.
7.Encourage them to try something new
I am always blown away by the stories of Olympic runners who did not even know they had much talent in running until they reached adulthood simply because they never tried it before.
Don’t force the child to keep with something year after year if they really don’t enjoy it but do make sure that they at least try numerous different sports, both team and individual until they find something they love.
8.Look for free ways to be active
Getting active does not have to cost anything. A walk to the park costs nothing. Swing sets and even bikes can be found for free on Freecycle or often by asking friends with older children if they might have playground equipment for younger ages lying around that you could have.
9.Make A budget for those things that cost
Although you could survive off free activities sometimes it is nice to broaden horizons which usually requires investing some cash.
When it comes to purchasing items with your funds don’t forget to look at the same sources to buy low cost second hand goods.
You can easily earn $10 a month in Amazon cards to use for low cost new equipment by joining and participating in Swagbucks and Bing Rewards. This would be great for jump ropes, scooters (save up for a few months) , pedometers (have a stepping contest) and even tunes for mp3 players for your older running children. See my list at the bottom of the post for 10 items under $10 on amazon that encourage activity.
10. What Are Your Tips For Encouraging Children to Be More Active?
In the age of tablets, video games, big screen TV’s and wii-fi it is harder than ever to get children off the couch and moving. I would love to read your comments on what has worked for your as well as what has not.