Getting kids active and moving everyday is not an easy task. Summertime gets even harder. It is easy for kids to become couch potatoes, with the heat and relaxed schedules.
I have learned over the years that just telling them to “get moving”….just doesn’t seem to work. I know right? Parenting would be so easy if they would just do what we say. Ha ha. Not even close.
To be honest…that isn’t my goal. I truly want my kids to develop a healthy mindset and know why they want to make better choices…not just because I told them to. This is what parenting is truly all about….teaching and empowering them to know what choices they want and why. It took me awhile to realize it wasn’t about just bossing them around…lol.
Be an Example
As parents, we seem to easily forget that kids will respect us more if we are doing what we suggest that they do, not just telling them. This is absolutely true with everything.
We all are more likely to do something if we understand what it will do for us, and why it is good for us. Have an honest conversation with your kids. Get to know your kid, and what you can discuss with them. As my kids got older, I explained how exercise helps with depression, anxiety, confidence and their mood. When they were younger, we talked about feeling happy, and making their heart stronger.
In order to get kids on board with choices they aren’t truly interested in…I believe you have to keep encouraging, not being demanding and forceful. It can be frustrating. I know. But, you have to lighten up, stay calm and positive.
Make it Fun
Kids are not going to want to participate if you are a drill sergeant barking orders and screaming at them. Lighten up and show them it doesn’t have to be miserable. This can be difficult and there will be hard days. I know. I’ve been there many times. Just try to relax and keep it light. I promise…it will last longer if you lighten up.
Make it a Lifestyle
Talk about healthy choices naturally. Put it on the calendar. Do your best to be active daily. Take a bike ride. Get outside. Take walks. Stretch together.
Applaud and Cheer Them On
We all need a cheerleader. Be one for your kids. Cheer any and all progress. Exercise can be hard. We all know it. Celebrate the walk. Be impressed that they tried to jog. Tell them you are proud that they are taking care of themselves. Compliment throughout the workout. Applaud their push-up, even when it isn’t perfect, and they aren’t going low enough yet. It will come if you encourage, educate and help them.
Any Progress is Good Progress
As parents… it can be easy to find faults….let’s take time to celebrate small achievements and progress when doing something hard, that we don’t always want to do. THIS will keep them going. Celebrate progress!
After the workout, ask specifically how they feel. Do you feel good? Do you feel energized? Is your mood happier? Do you feel less stressed? Be sure you find a positive feeling that they can remember. Depression and anxiety are so common with kids. Help them to understand the lifestyle choices that can help them.
When you exercise, endorphins are released, which triggers a positive feeling in your body. Be sure to get your kids to recognize this feeling, so they will have this memory for next time.
Don’t expect an hour workout immediately, or a 3 mile jog. Start with a walk. Add in 10 squats. The next time you can begin teaching push-ups. Start with 2 or 3. Pay attention to what comes easy, and push just a bit farther. Show them they can do more than they think, but don’t get them to the point where it is just awful right away.
The goal here is a healthy lifestyle. They haven’t chosen to be a Navy Seal, or even play with a professional team yet. Remember your goal if you want it to stick. Don’t get caught up in unrealistic expectations and what you “think” they should do.
Yes! You should reward them. Actually…you should reward yourself too when you exercise. This gets you excited to start. This summer, we rewarded our kids with game time for workouts. I would say that I was going jogging in an hour, and immediately someone would say, “I’ll go with you!”. I was shocked.
Reward them with a smoothie or special treat after. Plan something with friends when they finish.
To wrap it up…once you get them going…then you encourage and compliment them, so they feel good about themselves. Then, you ask for feedback after, and they realize, wow…I feel good, and happier, and stronger. They are impressed with themselves, and quite possibly amazed as to what they are capable of achieving. As they get older, they are even more excited about being stronger, more fit, and in shape. Yep. It can be a win-win…IF you approach it in a healthy, positive, encouraging way.
Alright…go get those kids moving! Good luck!!
Comment below and let me know how it goes.