5 Ways We Can Motivate Kids To Be More Active
In the modern world we live in, kids today spend a lot of time sat down, be this in a car, a classroom, or at home in front of the TV, smartphone, tablet or computer game; meaning kids are becoming less and less active with regard to moving their bodies, getting fresh air in their lungs, increasing their heart rate and exercising their muscles.
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes children who spend more time watching TV and playing video games, than playing outdoors, tend to have shorter attention spans, a higher incidence of ADHD and type two diabetes.
It’s therefore important to make sure your child gets to spend plenty of active time, and in this vein, here are five principles to consider that will make the task much more effortless on both the children and their parents.
GO WITH THE FLOW
If your child is playing an organised sport one minute but then starts chasing after a butterfly – go with their curiosity and allow them to discover what they wish to discover on their terms rather than in a regimented way. Encourage rather than prescribe or command.
MAKE IT FUN
Look for ways to make active play fun and your child is much more likely to take to it, that said an element of lighthearted competition can be a motivating factor too, but this is a double edged sword in that some kids tend to shy away from competition and therefore fun play time is the best approach, whilst for others, they are motivated by ‘winning’ and might respond well to dance classes for instance that lead to competitions or at least shows where they get to enjoy the limelight.
TURN OFF THE TV
TV can be a good tool to use from time to time but it’s very easy to become reliant on the TV as a surrogate parent. Indeed, it’s sad that watching TV, for many kids, has become so habitual that they see it as the ‘only option’.
It’s therefore a good idea to limit how much TV or computer games your children are allowed to interact with and encourage some more active play that gets their hearts into the aerobic zone.
GET A DOG
It’s amazing how many children long for a pet dog, and whilst the responsibility of walks in the rain will tend to land on you, as the parent, getting a dog is a great way to ensure the whole family get more exercise and fresh air.
REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOUR
Reinforce good behaviour and reward activity with a treat; for instance, many children after learning to swim and doing particularly well after swimming their first length of the pool, for instance are rewarded with an indulgent treat such as ice cream or a McDonald’s Happy Meal; which is okay once in a while, as long as there is balance
In summary, we need to actively encourage and facilitate an active lifestyle for our children in order to keep them happy and healthy, as the default setting nowadays is way too sedentary.
**5 Ways to Motivate Kids To Be More Active is a collaborative post