With childhood obesity rates as high as ever in the United States, we must continue to look for ways to get kids more active. In this video, I discuss ideas that can help your children not only get more exercise, but also to enjoy it too.
Have physical education in schools.
Schools across America have cut P.E. classes dramatically in recent years, as administrators have increased their focus on academic productivity. I would argue that getting a little bit of physical activity during school each day would help kids score better on tests and perform better academically. Plus, it can get them much needed exercise, which will help their health.
Sign your kids up to play a sport.
Sports offer a terrific way to get exercise. I would make sure kids play a variety of different sports growing up, but I think there is a sport that every child could enjoy. A few practices each week and a game on the weekend will help get their bodies moving.
Discourage social media except at certain times.
Screen time, whether it’s TV, texting on phones, watching videos online or using social media, is time that could be better spent doing something physical. While I would never tell you that you should keep your kids away from these activities completely, maybe you could set periods of time when your kids could do it. They would then avoid screens and get exercise outside of those windows.
Limit video games.
Playing video games might teach skills and develop hand-eye coordination. It still involves sitting in one place and barely moving. Consider setting a maximum number of hours each week that your children play video games.
Offer rewards for being active.
Encourage your kids to play outside with their friends or do other physical activities. If they resist, maybe you can offer a reward for that physical activity. You could offer them a certain amount of screen time or going to a movie on the weekend. It could be something simple, like choosing the music the family listens to in the car.
Make exercise a reward.
On the flip side, make the physical activity itself a reward. Consider offering your kids time playing outside with their friends if they complete their homework or doing their chores.