Listen, I get it. I'm the parent of two boys. It was much easier to ensure they were active when they were younger because they had no choice. But as we all know, kids get older and aren't always into doing what we want them to do because there are computer games, Cookie Clicker, text messages and WILL YOU GET OFF THE SOFA BEFORE YOU BECOME A PART OF IT?
So before you get to the screaming stage, here are some easy ideas to make getting active fun so your kids - who are currently connected to the couch and technology - become connected with activities.
I hate to break it to you but you cannot be all “Get up off the couch and go play” as you look up momentarily from your phone while you like food photos and sunsets on Instagram.
If you want your kids to be up and moving, you need to be up and moving too. And if your kids ask you to play with them, the answer is always...
Being active doesn’t mean you have to sign your kids up for a sport. Make it family time by hiking, take them on an adventure walk, play at the park, have an impromptu game of soccer or toss a Frisbee around. The only limit is your imagination.
Helpful Hint: Whenever you go on an outing that lasts longer than two hours make sure you always have two things on hand:
2. A snack you and your kids will actually eat and is easily portable. This is important because for years I would bring stuff I liked and then my boys wouldn't eat it and we'd have to end our excursion early because they were hungry.
This is not just a "get your kid active" hack, this is probably one of the best pieces of parenting advice you'll ever get. When you let your child choose what you will do, not only are they going to choose something they WANT to do but you are sending him/her the message that what they want to do and the activities they want to try are important to you.
Bonus: If you have more than one child it will also teach them how to take turns.
Teach your kids the games we used to play when we were kids.
I've been racing with my kids for over eight years. I started out pushing them in strollers in family-friendly races, then I took it to the next level by doing walk/run races - and now both of my kids run in timed races. Not only is it a great way to bond as a family, your kids will walk away with a medal and a feeling of accomplishment. Plus, they'll be super proud when they kick your butt. Which brings me to...
This is the reaction my sons have when I tell them they have to come on a run with me.
This is a reaction when I challenge them to a race.
Sometimes getting your kids to be active simply comes down to how you phrase it.
Not up for a running race? See who can bounce a basketball the longest, who can jump the furthest, who can do a wall squat the longest, or toss a frisbee the furthest. Who can get their kite up in the air first, who can make it across the monkey bars without falling...see how it works?
Then turn it into a game to see who can get the most steps in a day.
Fill the jar with different activities and each child chooses one that you all do for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Kids still not motivated? Invest in a calendar that you can hang in an area where everyone is guaranteed to see it and then put an X through every day your kids were active. If you have more than one child, use a colour coded system. Then see who can cross of the most days.
It doesn’t have to be Tuesdays but I like alliteration. Just make one day a week completely tech free. But plan carefully and make sure it doesn’t fall on the same night as your favourite T.V. show.
Let them invite their friends along whenever you do something active. Whether it’s going for a walk/bike ride or you’re going out to spend the day at the beach. From this point on your family motto should be:
Finally, always remember...most of us aren't raising elite athletes.