OPINION: How Do I Get My Kids To Be Active?

In an age where physical activity is on the decline, it can be difficult for parents to help their kids be active.

Physical activity is on the decline. With jobs being of a sedentary nature and technology dominating much of our work processes, people are moving around much less. While this isn’t good for individuals of any demographic, its especially troublesome for children. Kids are at an important juncture in their developmental stage. Developing healthy habits while they are still young is critical for their future health. If you’re a parent, how do you help your kid get moving?

One of the simplest ways to get your kids involved in physical activity is by getting the entire family involved. Rather than tell your child to shut off the television or computer and go outside, invite them to participate in some outdoor family fun. Tag, hide and seek, all of the “classic” outdoor games people played are all ways of getting your kid moving. If your child is still not enthusiastic about physical activity try an approach that will appeal to their nature.

Many children and adolescents are enthralled with video games, particularly the first person shooter variety. If it’s summer time try staging a water gun fight. It will provide much of the same adrenaline rush kids expect from video games, while still getting them to move. If your child is a teenager they could also play paintball which provides the same stimulation as while providing them with the physical activity that they need.

Another way of getting your kids to be active is by getting them involved in organized sports. If you’re an avid sports fan or follow a particular game, share your interest with your child. If you work to make it a common interest it might help your child want to become more involved in the sport. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious, if you’re into something share it with your kid. The same absolutely holds true for sports and physical activity. If you lead by example your children are sure to follow.

One thing you definitely want to avoid is having the “ do as I say, not as I do” approach when getting your kids to be active. Simply enrolling them in organized sports or forcing activity on them won’t lead to the desired result. It’s better for your kids to enjoy what they do, it’ll increase the likelihood that they will stick with it in the long run.

In an age where physical activity is waning and health issues keep rising, it’s important to make the time to be active. If your children see your prioritize work, television, or the Internet over your own health, it’s a habit that they will invariably repeat in their own adult lives. Doctors continue to advocate physical activity for people of all ages. Don’t let wait until later to instill in your kids the importance of being physical active. It will only serve them well later in life.

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