We all know about the importance of fitting exercise into our daily lives. However, millions of Americans still do not get exercise regularly. With the obesity epidemic all around us, it is time for every parent to take healthy steps to get or keep their kids eating healthy and moving their bodies.
You are the parent and you are in charge. Help your kids eat right and be fit, by providing healthy snacks and meals, by limiting the amount of empty calories or junk food they consume, and figure out a way to get them moving for an hour every day (or as much as you can).
Use Words to Encourage Your Kids to Move Everyday
It is not uncommon for one of my boys to say, “Look mom, I’m exercising” or for someone else to say, “Is this exercising?” as they hop around the house or do a jumping jack.
Kids are naturally busy. They have spurts of energy throughout the day. It is usually obvious when your kids need to get moving because they start jumping around the house, or climbing on furniture or each other. Try to get your kids outside or doing some activity before their energy takes over. Take them outside to play and run around or do a fun indoor activity that involves movement.
- Tell your kids, “Your body was made to move around.”
- Talk about strong bones and building muscles
- It is important to talk to your kids about eating healthy foods and getting exercise to have a strong growing body.
Make Moving Your Body Fun
It is very easy to get kids to move around and burn off energy. Just stay conscious of the need to move your body and theirs. Plan a time when everyone goes outside for an activity or think of an indoor activity to get them up and moving.
- Go outdoors
- Ride bikes
- Play hide and seek
- Play a game/ hopscotch
- Hopping lily pad game
- Obstacle course (in/out)
- Relay race or sprints
- Red light, green light or simon says
- Soccer, basketball or baseball
- Turn on the tunes and have a dance party
- Walk the dog
- Walk to the store or to a friend’s house in the neighborhood
I even do little games with my kids just to break up the day and get more physical activity into a cold or rainy day. I will start doing an easy exercise and after a minute I will say, “How many bunny hops can you do?” and then, “Let’s see if we can all hop for 2 minutes.”
I tell my kids every day its time to, “Get Outside and Move Our Bodies” It is important for you to make physical activity a part of your child’s day. If you think about it, it is often television, computers or a video game that keeps our kids sitting down. If you turn off the tv and video games, kids will naturally move their bodies. So make sure to limit their viewing or playing time and encourage board games, pretend play, art, or physical exploration and play.
As my kids have gotten older I realize they do not want to play little games and run around unless it involves friends or a family outing. My 13 year old loves soccer so most outdoor fitness involves soccer or throwing the football. He also plays street hockey with his friends and we grab a few friends and bike to the park. The easiest way to encourage movement for older kids is doing an activity together or getting a group of their friends together for a hike, or bike ride or another outdoor adventure.
Be a Good Role Model for Your Kids – Let Them See You Move Your Body Everyday
Let your kids see you moving or exercising. You can accomplish this through a walk, or gardening, doing stretches, lifting weights, jumping rope or just being silly and doing a game like Simon Says or races with your kids.
My husband and I often do short races across the backyard with the kids. Sometimes we win and sometimes they win.
Sometimes, I do little things like lifting the laundry bag up and doing curls 10 times and I say, “Look how strong I am.” And, as you know, kids like to copy.
There really is no excuse for not adding some type of physical activity into most of our days. If we make exercising a priority, then the kids will take notice and realize it is something important we should all do. Can you commit to adding in physical activity to your day and your kids’ day-even if it is only for a few minutes?
Get Your Child Involved in a team Sport or Activity
A team sport is a great way to introduce your kids to a physical activity and a team environment. There are many benefits to signing your child up for a sport involving physical activitiy. It helps them follow directions, teaches a set of rules, it rewards them for physical effort and teaches the value of working our bodies and it teaches team work, while helping kids feel a part of something and improves self-esteem.
A few good team or physical sports are: Soccer, T-ball, Dance, Gymnastics, Basketball, Baseball, Tennis, and Karate.
Do you and your kids fit in some form of moving your bodies most days? What do you or your kids do to get moving and fit? Are you willing to fit in little spurts of movement? What ideas or stories can you share with us about getting your kids Up and Moving?
By Kristin Fitch
Edited 11/17/2015 from my original post