Some kids enjoy sports while others dread it. How can parents motivate their children to stay, or get active?
First and foremost, be a role model. Young children look to their parents to learn, especially young children. Have a plan and schedule in this time, as it is very easy to let time slip away. It can be as simple as family walks after dinner, before every one heads for the couch to watch TV or play video games on the computer. This can be a lot of fun if you have a family pet to walk. Make the evening event fun by setting goals while on the walk, such as the number of steps each of you take by using a pedometer, or pick a tree or a fire hydrant they have to sprint to, and you have just incorporated interval training!
Implement a way to track the family’s progress. Having a big calendar with all the children’s activities is a great place to place their activity goals. Use age appropriate markers such as stickers, or colorful magnets. It doesn’t hurt to have appropriate incentives either, specifically related to what your child’s interests are. For example if they are in to building things, perhaps they can pick out a model plane once they reach their goal, or they if they enjoy science they can go to Science World. Make a plan, schedule in the time so everyone is on board and follow through with goals and incentives.
If you have a sedentary child, who is not in to the typical team sports at school or is less than enthusiastic about activity take some time to explore what other avenues are out there for them. The Olympics is a great way to check out the variety of ways young people stay active such as judo, or table tennis. Take a look with your child at the pictures of young athletes that were at the Olympics, or take them to a local event such as a 10km, half marathon or a triathlon to show them what they can work towards. These events are extremely inspiring!
Take the time to plan activity for yourself as well as you children, and every one benefits.
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