Maybe we’re just wired to believe that active is the natural state of being for kids based on our own childhoods that weren’t tech-infested, but things have changed nowadays. We need to invest some serious effort to get our little ones off the couch, to glue their eyes off the screens and explore the world around them without any digital gimmick in their hands.
In all fairness, having access to the digital world has its perks, but it’s all the more important to encourage them to be active and curious, to spend more time outside and not get used to a sedentary life. And the following strategies may come in handy precisely for such parents on a fitness mission!
Active as a way of life
Not all kids will be instantly mesmerized by the idea of football, or any other sport for that matter, but if you lead a life that’s based on being as active as possible, they will grow up to appreciate their habits and perhaps naturally include more of the same attitude.
Simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog regularly, playing an instrument in their free time, having outdoor play-dates and limiting screen time are all good examples of what you can do. Walking to school is also an option for kids who live nearby, or picking up groceries instead of taking a car every time, will teach them it’s normal to walk more instead of riding everywhere.
Helping with chores
While we’re on the subject of groceries, if you put their contribution in the right context, they’ll be happy to help! Tell them you need their help and thank them while praising their strength and ability to manage the bag, even with a single item inside, will make them feel appreciated, instead of just giving out random orders.
Make house-cleaning a fun session with music in the background and a perfect opportunity for some karaoke with the kids. And of course, reward them with healthy treats afterwards. Let them bathe, feed and walk their pets, ask them to help you in the garden and you’ll create a fitness-friendly environment even outside the world of fitness.
Keeping things versatile
It’s no secret that kids get bored very easily, and their attention spans have only shrunk with the rise of technology, so they crave more stimulation by the minute. With that particular layer of complexity added to an already difficult parental job, you need to get and stay creative with your ideas.
Show them how you had fun when you were a kid, so let them pick out a mini cruiser of their own and hit the skateboard park together. Take them to various introductory sports classes so they can find out what they like. And of course, let them make their own decisions in this regard, because you don’t want to cause your kids to hate being active simply because they were pushed into an activity they didn’t enjoy.
Gifts to inspire action
This is a bit sneaky, but still very powerful way to infuse your kids’ lives with variety and active fun, as whenever you get them a present, whether it’s for a birthday or Christmas, you can make it something that will keep them on their feet. Think: a basketball, a Twister set, a fishing set, a bike, a camera, a jump rope, you name it, they’ll love it!
That means you will not only create an environment that encourages them to stay active and always find new ways to challenge their physical abilities, but you’ll also give them a whole range of different options for all weather conditions and moods, so they can choose.
Don’t forget to role-model
No kid will grow up to be athletic and in love with sports if their parents are couch potatoes. I mean, it might happen, but it’s highly unlikely, and you cannot take that risk! So, practice what you preach from the early days, and teach by example.
Let them see that you’re filling your time with sports and healthy choices, take them to the gym with you, be someone they can and should look up to, as you will be their go-to source of life values. Use this as an opportunity to become an even better parent by showing them what it means to practice self-care through health and fitness.