If you’re a parent who has been desperately trying to get your kids active at home, then you know that it can present one of the biggest parenting challenges. With increasing time spent indoors due to health and safety concerns, motivating children – especially teenagers – to exercise may feel like an exhausting uphill battle. But what if there was a way? A simple workflow in which productive physical activity could become part of the daily routine with no extra fuss or added cost? The good news is that there is! We compiled some expert advice from fitness experts and physical education teachers on how best to help your kids stay motivated for exercise at home (no matter their age). Read on for actionable steps that will have your children engaged in physical activities tailored just for them -from dance-offs and strength training routines, to family sports tournaments and mindfulness sessions.
Why is it important for kids to exercise at home and what are the benefits of doing so
In today's world, getting children interested in physical exercise can be a difficult task. Not only is it important for kids to stay active and engaged in physical activity, but the numerous benefits of regular exercise cannot be overlooked. Research continues to show that incorporating at least an hour of daily physical activity into a child’s routine helps to improve concentration and brain development, encourages healthy growth and energy levels, strengthens bones and muscles, reduces stress and anxiety as well as promotes overall mental and emotional well-being. Finding ways to motivate your children to exercise at home can help them gain these beneficial results while still being fun for them.
Set reasonable expectations
Setting reasonable expectations is key when it comes to motivating your kids to exercise at home. It’s important to give your children achievable goals, so that they don't get discouraged or worse - burned out. For example, start by setting a goal of 15-20 minutes of exercise per day and adjust accordingly if necessary. Reassure them that this time is for fun, and not just another chore on their list. This way, it becomes something enjoyable for everyone in the family not just an obligation!
Tips on how to find activities that your kids will enjoy
To keep your kids moving while they are at home, it's important to meet them where they're at in terms of what type of activity they enjoy. The more creative and engaging the activity, the more likely they'll be to stay motivated. Make sure whatever activities you choose are something your child will find enjoyable - try exercising together or playing a game such as tag or Simon Says. Research fun online fitness classes or encourage your kids to create their own obstacle courses in the backyard for some family-friendly competition. Fun activities will help ensure that getting physical doesn't feel like a chore for your kids. Check out Move Your Way for more ideas on activities for your kids.
Think outside the box and come up with activities that don't necessarily involve running or jumping
Finding creative ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life is an enjoyable way for the whole family to get active. Instead of traditional running or jumping, try building a fort in the living room as a fun alternative exercise! Research has shown that moving furniture and other objects increases muscle strength and flexibility. Alternatively, yoga is a great low-impact exercise form that helps both children and adults improve posture, balance and promotes relaxation.
Making an obstacle course out of household items like cushions and pillows to jump over can also be entertaining while providing a fun physical challenge. Furthermore, seek out nearby parks with playgrounds so the kids can swing, slide and climb on play equipment without relying on stationary machines in gyms. With just a little imagination and doing activities as a family, staying motivated and active at home can be easy. For more ways on how to think outside the box click here.
The importance of setting goals and rewards
When it comes to motivating children to exercise, setting goals and rewards can be effective tools. Goals keep kids focused and give them something to work towards, while rewards provide an incentive that encourages and reminds kids of their accomplishments. This combination is a powerful motivator, as it helps establish a sense of accomplishment in the child and instills both confidence and pride in what they have achieved.
Furthermore, these goals don’t have to be intricate or complicated either - smaller milestones such as counting a set number of jumping jacks or running around the block can all make for meaningful goals that are easily achievable. Showing your support and offering rewards for achievement will help your child feel encouraged and acknowledged by their parents, creating stronger parent-child communication. Here are 7 reasons why setting goals is important for kids.
Get involved in the activity yourself, as it can help motivate your child
Having a strong parental presence when it comes to encouraging physical activity in the home is essential, as it can help motivate our children to stay active and healthy. Developing good exercise habits early on creates a base that they can carry through their life, so it’s important to provide them with the right environment, and lead by example. Start by joining in on their exercises – take part in activities with them such as running, jogging or playing games - or even just watch from the sidelines if that's more comfortable for you. You'll be able to show your kids how enjoyable physical activities are and demonstrate that exercising is just as beneficial for adults too. Taking an interest in their workout can also give them vital feelings of worth and acceptance.
Exercising at home with our children is an important part of providing them with healthy habits for life. It can be difficult to motivate them to do activities that are fun yet challenging, but it is worth the effort. We must set reasonable expectations so they won’t burn out from being too ambitious, and instead provide tips and creative solutions on how to get kids moving. Furthermore, setting goals for ourselves and our children, as well as rewarding their successes, are absolutely essential when we want to see long-term results. And finally, an often forgotten aspect of motivation is parental involvement; do something physical together - such as going for a bike ride - and encourage the family spirit! To learn more about health and fitness for your kids, join YFN academy today!
"7 Reasons Why Goal-Setting Is Important For Success." Kids on the Yard, kidsontheyard.com/articles/education/general-education/goal-setting-for-success/.
Charlton, Claire, "To Keep Your Child Active and Healthy, Think Outside the Box." Metro Parent, 23 Mar. 2020. https://www.metroparent.com/sponsored-content/to-keep-your-child-active-and-healthy-think-outside-the-box/.
"Help Your Kids Get More Physical Activity." Move Your Way, 17 Jan. 2020, https://health.gov/moveyourway/get-kids-active/.
"Physical Activity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm#:~:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20can%20help,developing%20health%20conditions%20such%20as%3A&text=Heart%20disease.,Cancer.