By Brenna Robinson
There is a struggle between two worlds at the moment, the constant theme of fitness and the bombardment of technology that keeps us sedentary. This is especially true for kids, they are always on top of the latest trend, whether it be a new app such as Snapchat or a new game for Xbox. So, how do you get your kids involved in fitness and more importantly how do you motivate them to put the game system or phone aside?
Tiphanie Bigham, wellness director for The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA suggests that you do activities as a family. It is very difficult to get your kids motivated to go outside and do physical activity if you are sitting on the couch yourself. Kids’ behavior often reflects that behavior and attitude of the parents, so the most important action to take is to get the entire family involved. Tiphanie suggests planning 90 minutes of family activity every day where everyone must participate in some kind of physical activity. Try outdoor activities such as throwing a football, playing a volleyball game, or swimming. Let your kids be involved in the process, allowing each child to take turns choosing the activity of the day. Teenager can be more difficult to pull away from their sedentary activities. If you are having a difficult time getting your teens involved, continue spending this active time yourself. Once your teen sees how this active time has made you a healthier happier person, they may join in. This may not happen right away, but continue your daily routine and invite them to join in often.
An article from CNN.com suggests “promoting activity, not exercise” (2011). Kids are always more interested when something is fun and does not feel like a chore. Use activities as rewards for good grades or gifts, such as purchasing volleyball or hockey equipment for home use or taking them on fun outings such as rock climbing or ice skating (2011).
Kids love doing activities with their family when it is offered as fun and entertaining. This time should not be negative or a time to discuss problematic issues unless your child chooses to do so. You want your child to feel like this is a fun time with family when they will not be criticized. This is not the time to be a “coach or trainer” to your child. Incorporating family fitness time in your day will be fulfilling for both you and your kids and will promote a healthy lifestyle that they can take with them into adulthood.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, 01 22). Fitness for kids: Getting children off the couch. Retrieved from CNN Health: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/fitness/FL00030.html