Some children are naturally inclined to being more active, whereas others need some encouragement to help them along. This could be due to social pressures and experiences, or it could be due to health-related problems including fatigue, tiredness, and depression. There are many factors at play when trying to encourage your children to be more active, so we’ll consider some of the tactics you may find helpful.
Lead By Example
If you’re encouraging your children to be more active but not leading by example, this can create mixed signals and undermine the message you are giving to your kids about the importance of exercise and physical movement. Consider ways that you can get involved in activities with your children and be active together as a family. If you’re telling your children to be more active for half an hour each day, replicate this yourself and show them that you are also being active and understand the benefits of physical exercise. There are many ways you can make exercise into a group or family activity, including by going for a run or cycle together or joining a local exercise group.
Create Fun Activities
When physical exercise starts to be seen as boring or forced, children can quickly begin to associate it with negative experiences. This can lead to long-term consequences regarding how your child feels about exercise, and this can have negative repercussions for years to come. Rather than forcing the importance of physical activity on your children, create things that they might enjoy more instead. If your children enjoy playing baseball, consider looking for a new pitcher’s mound they can use in the garden. Encourage any hobbies they develop such as gymnastics or horse riding, which are also great ways to be more active.
Be Aware of Health Conditions
It’s easy to come to the conclusion that you have a lazy child if they don’t want to do much physical activity, but this is certainly not always the case. Talk to the family doctor about your child if they are consistently reluctant to engage with any physical activity. There could be underlying health conditions including hormonal imbalances, asthma, and mental health conditions which may be impacting your child’s behavior. However, physical exercise is essential for managing and overcoming many health-related issues, as well as children’s development more generally, which is why it’s more important than ever to find positive ways to encourage your child to be more active.
Encourage Team Activities
If your child enjoys being around other people, encourage them to get involved with team activities and sports. This could be a team sport like baseball, or you could encourage them to join a local running team to meet other children their age. Mixing with other children can often help to make physical exercise more enjoyable, and some kids might have a competitive nature that encourages them to work harder too. Speak to the child’s teachers at school to find out whether there are any sports they enjoy at school, and whether there are more opportunities for your child to get involved. Make sure your child is happy with any new activities and has good relationships with their peers and others in the group.
You will need to take an individual approach when encouraging your kids to be more active, as each child may respond differently to the next. Even within the same family, different approaches should be used for each child, rather than expecting all of them to enjoy the same things and respond in the same way.