With Aussie kids spending more and more time glued to their computers, laptops, iPads and smart phones, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for parents to encourage their kids to exercise! If this is a familiar scenario in your household, here are eight strategies that should make it a lot easier to include outdoor activities in your family’s daily life.
1. Limit exercise to an hour each day
Whenever you try and place limits on your kids they always want to buck the system, so telling them they can’t do something for more than an hour can just about guarantee they will do more! Also, recent research suggests that kids need at least one hour of exercise each day to remain healthy and this includes any activity that increases their heart rate. So anything that involves running or walking fast, jumping, lifting, climbing or swinging will do the job.
2. Engage the whole family
If everyone joins the activity then exercise can become great fun! So consider taking everyone outdoors for a walk before the evening meal on the weekend, keeping it light hearted and random at first. If all goes well, you can make walking before dinner a regular occasion for everyone and enjoy some quality time together.
3. Become a role model
When kids see that exercise and outdoor activities are part of their family’s daily life, it becomes much more acceptable. Participating in sports or just walking everyday yourself will encourage your kids to do the same, simply because it’s part of their upbringing.
4. Make if fun for everyone
If your kids see exercise as a chore they will be less inclined to go along with you, particularly if you are taking them away from something they already see as fun – their computer or smart phone! The key is to make exercise engaging and fun, so if you have little kids then taking them to the park can be really exciting, whilst older kids might enjoy bike riding, skateboarding or swimming.
5. Give your kids options
Some kids might prefer to go swimming rather than walking, whilst others might jump at the chance of cycling with their friends, but would baulk at going to the local park with their parents in tow! Little kids are much easier to engage and inspire, so you will often need patience and perseverance with older kids.
6. Gift them a step counter
Depending on their age, kids usually love ‘gadget’ gifts and the step counter is a gift that keeps on giving! This counter can motivate kids to exercise more, even if it’s only to compete with their siblings and you can even set up daily or weekly challenges with suitable rewards for the winner.
7. Get them outdoors
This might sound too simple, but if you take your kids out for the day to the beach, park or country they usually find something fun to do with themselves. It might be racing around a park, climbing trees or playing games, but when you activate your kid’s imagination, they can forget the time because they are having so much fun!
8. Consider exercise classes
Whether it’s martial arts, dancing, tennis, horse riding or any other type of sporting class, signing your kids up for classes that interest them is a great way to increase their physical activity and broaden their horizons as well.Balance bikes are a great way to involve children in exercise at a young age. Check out our full range.