7 Ways to Encourage Kids to Be Active
Did you know that 70 percent of overweight kids, become overweight adults as well? It’s important that kids, at their early age, develop healthy habits they can carry into adulthood. The best way to do this is to encourage kids to be active. But that’s easier said than done, especially if kids have become couch potatoes or digital zombies thanks to all those gadgets. Here are 7 ways to encourage kids to be active.
Introduce Development-Related Activities
You may not know it, but kids crave structure in their lives. When they’re bored, besides playing, they either eat, use gadgets or do weird stuff. While their weird stuff can be hilarious at times (not to mention cute), add a little more order in their lives by giving them development-related activities. For example, don’t expect an eight-year old to run a marathon with you or do weight training. Swimming, biking, basketball and football are fun activities. There are camps which also offer development-related fitness activities.
Get Them ‘Active Toys’
Obviously, kids love toys. But don’t give them just any other toys. Give them active ones. For instance, a soccer ball may not technically be a toy, but for a child it can lead to hours of fun and fitness. A beach ball can encourage kids to be active even before their feet get wet. A Frisbee or a kite will encourage them to go outside and play.
Get Them Fitness Gear
Like toys, fitness wear can encourage children to be more active. Shoes, for example, is an outright invitation for them to go outside and be active. Either than fit though, shoes need to protect your kids’ feet. Choose shoes which are comfy, has good support and cushioning. Look for sports accessories they may like too.
Turn the Electronics Off
On average, children spend around seven hours using television, smartphones and other gadgets, daily. Yes, it’s like they have a job with that much hours spent on these things. Imagine how productive they would be if even half of that is used on fitness? But before you go dictator, bear in mind that there is a subtler way to get kids to stop using electronics. Do it gradually. Don’t let them go ‘cold turkey’ so to speak. Limit the time of use slowly and insert fitness activities in its place. You want them to let go of the digital habit by themselves, not by force.
Make Meals Magical
Children can be picky eaters. That’s why it’s so hard for most parents to persuade kids to eat healthy. One trick is to make the foods look good. Design your kids’ meals to make them look good. Make it look like a bear. A lion or even a cartoon character (if you’re really good at it). Another way is to add what your kids like with healthy foods. For instance, every kid likes cheese, so steamed veggies with some cheese can encourage them to eat their vegetables. As they get the taste of vegetables, slowly remove the cheese or use healthier options.
Be Their Role Model
Kids model their behavior through people who are close to them. No pressure, but as a parent, that’s you. If you want your kids to eat healthy and be fit, you have to show them you’re willing to do the same. Practice what you preach by being a role model.
Do Not Overdo It
As much as you want your kids to be fit and active, do not overdo it. Remember that the goal is for kids to develop a healthy habit, which means they actually have to like the idea of being fit. And that won’t happen if they feel like its kiddie boot camp. So just take it easy and let them enjoy the ride… and enjoy it too.