Just like adults, children need to be physically active if they are to stay healthy. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, just 50% of boys and 34% of girls from 12-15 years old are adequately fit. Because 80% of overweight children become obese adults, it’s imperative to start them on their fitness journey as early as you can. Too many kids are spending too much time on the couch, in front of screens. Luckily, there are some ways you can motivate your child to become more active.
Be a role model for your child
Kids look to their parents for guidance and will mimic your habits, whether they are good or not. If your children see you living an active lifestyle, they are more likely to make an effort to be active as well, and not only through their childhood, but their adult lives as well.
Exercise as a family
One of the most successful ways to change your child’s exercise habits is by getting the whole family involved. Think about playing together, going to the park, throwing a ball, or taking a class together. Martial arts is a great activity for the whole family. Not only will everyone get into better shape, but they will also learn healthier habits, become less stressed, take on new challenges, and make new friends!
Make it fun
Kids just want to have fun, and they are more likely to continue exercising if they are doing something they enjoy. Kids karate provides an outlet for all their energy while also being a fun workout that builds confidence and self-esteem. Outside of class, you can throw a dance party in the living room, spend a day walking around the zoo, or have a picnic and play games in the park.
Exercise is so much more fun with family and friends! Karate class is a great way to meet new people and build long-lasting friendships. You can also invite your child’s friends to join in on activities, whether it be in or out of the home.
Did your child just win their first soccer game? Did they just reach the yellow belt in Karate? Celebrate! Taking some time to congratulate and reward them for their accomplishments will encourage them to continue pushing their limits and taking on new challenges.
Include kids in household chores and activities
If you’re looking to sneak some physical activity into your child’s day, have them take part in tasks such as washing the car, vacuuming the house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or walking the dog.
Limit screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids don’t get more than one to two hours of screen time per day (whether it be the TV, tablet, phone, or computer). However, many children are spending more than four hours a day in front of screens. Motivate your child to get active with other pastimes such as walking the dog, having a dance party, going to the park, rollerblading, riding a bike, or other fun activities.
It’s pretty much impossible to stay motivated when we try to take on too much too soon. Working out five days a week might be hard with music lessons, homework, and other activities, but you can start motivating your child to exercise 1-2 days per week and move forward from there.
Make a schedule
Both children and adults respond well to a structured schedule. Plan out your weeks and make sure everyone can commit to their fitness activities on those days and times. If something comes up and you can’t make the scheduled activity, substitute it with something else. If your car is in the shop and you can’t make it to Karate class, try going for a walk around the neighborhood before dinner. If you planned on a family bike ride and it’s stormy that day, turn on the Wii and play some bowling or tennis.
Benefits of being active
There are many benefits for your child being active. Some benefits include:
- Healthy weight
- Better sleep
- Higher self-esteem
- Decreased risk for Type 2 Diabetes
- Strong muscles and bones
- Better confidence
Physically active children also tend to be more focused, motivated, and more successful in school. Remember to guide and encourage your children to increase their activity level – don’t force them. Choose an activity that your kids will find fun and positive.