Child obesity has reached alarming levels in America and globally, and one of the reasons for this is that our children spend far too much time sitting on the sofa, and not enough time getting outdoors and playing. While we all want our children to be healthy, getting them to exercise can be easier said than done, but there are some key things you can do to get your children more active.
Present athletes as positive role models
In this day and age, we are in desperate need of more positive role models for children and young people. While all athletes are definitely not perfect, there is a lot to be admired in people who have worked and trained exceptionally hard to achieve their goals – and it is far better that your child would aspire to be like them than a drug addict reality TV star, or stick-thin catwalk model. Share your admiration for top athletes, and extol their virtues over those of the latest reality TV stars.
Encourage and nurture your child’s talents
If your children are in awe of certain NFL players or athletes from any sport, make sure they know that if they find a sport they’re good at and work hard enough, they can be just like the people that they look up to. Make sure they understand how hard athletes have to train, not just to get to the highest level, but be able to stay there. Then, if your child finds a sport he or she loves and wants to succeed in, do everything possible to encourage and support them. Praise them when they have successes and, even more importantly, pick them up when things go wrong – that way they will be less inclined to give up.
Tell them why
Children are naturally inquisitive, so if they ask why you want them to go outside and play, avoid saying things like “because I said so”. This will give kids the impression that you’re making them do something just for the sake of it, without any real reason. If you want them to go out and play because they’ve been watching television or playing video games for far too long, then tell them this, and explain why exercise and fresh air is so important. This can be a good time to remind them how hard their favorite athletes have to work every single day to get where they are, and that they can’t sit around all day.
A child educated in health and fitness is likely to be more disciplined diet and exercise-wise, and more likely to pass the same ethics on to their own offspring down the line.
Get stuck in!
If part of your child’s reluctance to go out and play is centered around the fact that they don’t have any friends in the area available to go and play with, then try offering to go and kick a ball around or play catch in the garden with them. Young children will, of course, be more receptive to this, but an older child may surprise you, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve done something like this together. You could always try getting the whole family involved for bike rides or even roller skating sessions â€“ that way you can all look after your health together.