Encouraging Kids to Exercise
Encouraging kids to exercise can be a problem if they don’t associate exercise with having fun. It is also more difficult for you as a parent encouraging kids to exercise if you haven’t made a habit of introducing lots of fun movement and exercise from a very young age – but you can do it!
Let them copy your behaviour
If you show that you are important enough to take care of yourself and be happy by making exercise a priority, your children are more likely to view exercise as normal, fun, beneficial and important for them. And the truth is that exercise really is important to your child’s development!
If you act like exercise is a boring chore, your children will also take your lead. Be happy and encouraging about the advantages of exercising to them and minimise the negatives in your own dialogue – both to yourself and to your children. Never complain about ‘having to go’ to the gym in front of them!
Listen to them if they are reluctant
If children are negative about physical activity, listen respectfully and let them know you acknowledge their feelings. It is only when children feel that their concerns and their grievances are being heard are they ready to hear what you have to say. Then, you can move on to brainstorming fun ways to get exercise – one of my favourites is ‘I bet you can’t get a goal past me in the park!‘ – and join them for a football kick-around in the park. Kids absolutely love this, and adults find they do too!
When encouraging kids to exercise, make it fun for them
If something is fun, your child is much more likely to want to repeat it. But do remember that every child’s definition of fun is different, so try a family bounce around at a trampoline park; take a beach ball to the beach; go swimming with the kids; or organise a picnic with some bats and balls, which will encourage some fun running around.
If your child needs help, enlist a specialist children’s fitness trainer
When encouraging kids to exercise, this is a brilliant option for children who might be overweight, self-conscious or not used to exercise. You should never under-estimate how low your children’s confidence and self-esteem can be when they see their school peers, friends and siblings happily running around, when they cannot.
A good trainer will be extremely supportive to your child, as well as motivational and hugely confidence-boosting for them.
It is a very delicate and difficult thing to talk about exercising to an overweight child. Never use the word “fat” to a child, never use the word “diet” and never let your child believe it is their own sole responsibility to regulate their weight – you are in it together.
Right now, more and more overweight and under-confident children are ‘re-discovering themselves’ and having fun working to a structured programme, created by a fitness trainer who is experienced at working with children.
Co-founder of Fit Squad DXB, Devinder Bains, says: “As well as working with both pre- and post-natal mums on their bodies and fitness, we also have specialist trainers for children who really know how to relate to kids and make exercise great fun.
Our trainers are really sensitive to how each child feels and genuinely ‘buddies up’ with them to encourage them and make them proud of their achievements in every session. Because they are children, it doesn’t take long to show some real results, which just spurs the child on to embrace more exercise, with great enthusiasm.
We find that kids very quickly look forward to their sessions and the transformation in body, mind, energy, confidence and even food choices, can be absolutely amazing.”
When encouraging kids to exercise, set them up for success
Limit your young child’s screen time to just an hour or two a day! The more time spent in front of a computer, TV, phone, etc., the more you are breeding the habit of a sedentary lifestyle into them – and the less time is available to be physically active (or read or partake in other beneficial activities).
Whether they see it or not, children crave and appreciate structure, boundaries and direction. So, limit screen time, make sure they know they are getting active regularly and balance it all with a healthy, fresh food diet and quality, active family time.
For further information and help in enlisting a fitness trainer for your child, you can talk directly to Devinder Bains from Fit Squad DXB on +971 52 870 6369, or CLICK HERE for details.