How to Exercise With Kids – Make Exercising fun
Kids attention spans are just about as small as they are. So keeping their attention for something as UN-fun as working out is no easy task.
Here I’ve laid out a few things to try with your kiddos. Of course, every kid is different. Don’t expect every trick to work with every kid. Every little one of them is different and unique. But you can try these few tips to make a difference, and be a little healthier because of it.
Making a Competition – Letting Them Win(Sometimes)
It all depends on your kid’s age and personality type, but most kids get a nice shot of dopamine when they win something or are close to winning. This makes the activity a whole lot more fun.
Kids can also get real beat up over seemingly nothing. Let them win a good portion of the time until they get used to the task or exercise. Maybe you can only do 10 jumping jacks and your kid can do twenty-five.
Show steady progression and that the work you put into your jumping jacks makes you more able to do it. Here’s another example.
You make a competition for army crawling. Let’s say it’s a race to the other side of the room. Whoever gets to the other side first wins.
You pretend to be very bad at army crawling for the first few attempts, and every time getting a little bit faster, showing that the practice is helping. Eventually beating your child in the race. But make sure to immediately have them try again at something they are good at. A moody kid is never fun.
Beyond that, you could make practically anything a competition. eating broccoli(Who can eat more) Push-ups(Who can do more) The possibilities are really endless with this one. Just be sure to be careful with your kid’s self-confidence. If you feel like they are getting cocky, maybe win once or twice.
You know your kids best, so I’ll leave it up to your discretion.
Finding What They are Interested in
If you know your child hates football but loves soccer. But you hate soccer and love football. It looks like you are about to play some soccer.
When trying to get your kid to be active, it’s much better to associate the exercise with something they love. This will correlate in their brain, and over time they will like activity more and more. This type of thinking can be applied to all sorts of things.
They like playing baseball, play some baseball. It really is that simple. Sometimes you just have to give in to their preference. As kids, they will one day become adults. If they are constantly giving in to your will as a parent, how will they ever develop as people and have a will of their own?
Another great way of learning what your kid likes to do is called a Preference assessment. You choose a limited number of things or activities and present them to your kiddo. You then ask which they would like the most. Here’s an example.
YOU:”Hey Johny, would you rather go to the park, play some basketball or go wrestle?”
If you give the child limited options, it is much more likely to get a result VS asking them what they’d like to do outright. Giving them a box to work in so to speak.
This Then That Method
The reward is an incredibly effective method with children. Just as before this has to do with your kid and associating the reward with the exercise. So this is a more outright method of exercising. It all depends on what you want and how you want to parent/teach.
If they want to play video games, maybe ask them to play a fitness game first. Or even outright make the price of playing a video game a short workout.
If sugar is very common in your house, anytime they want sweets you could have a cost in exercise. Simple, but very effective.
The cons of this method are fairly obvious. Because the exercises are non-preferred, there will be resistance and it will be more difficult to get started. But generally, once the system is in place it will work fine for as long as the rules are enforced consistently.
Nature and Your Kid
Some kids really like the indoors. We know that spending excessive amounts of time indoors is bad for us. A trip to the beach for a day or even the mountains for a hike would do lots of good.
Ensure that where you are going is preferred by the kid. If they don’t like where you are going it is much more likely they will complain and ruin the trip for everyone else.
If you have a particularly depressing child, ask them where they would like to go first, and then the other kids. Put them in order and over a month or two, visit those places.
Again, the upsides and downsides are obvious here. You get exercise and your family does too. But they may complain about being tired or hungry. So make sure to bring lots of snacks and water. Ensure your snacks are healthy as well!
Sports and Friends
Possibly the most engaging thing for kids is sports and making friends. So if there is a team that your child can join, consider asking them if they want to sign up. Or alternatively asking if they want to give it a shot just to try it.
Sports are incredibly effective at team building and getting exercise in a fun way. For the little ones, a little league might be best. Or even just getting some other little kids over to play outside.
It really is up to your kid how they will react to exercise. In my professional opinion(Therapist Feild). You should do what makes the kid feel free, but that you can still control. Outlets are incredibly important. Healthy coping mechanisms are harder than ever to create in young minds.
Instant gratification is everywhere. If you feel that your family is suffering from unhealthiness, consider cleaning up your diet. Throw at all carb-heavy foods(Sadly this includes sweets). Over the next few months you’ss see a difference in your families physiques. You must watch the carbs, carbs are a fuel for your body, and if the body isn’t using them then they turn to fat.
I hope that you find what works best, comment down below on what works best for your kids!