It’s no secret that children are more obsessed with sedentary activities like playing video games these days than getting outside and running around. However, these are my top tips for motivating kids to move without feeling like it’s boring exercise. Ready to move?
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1. Figure Out The Best Way Your Child Likes to Move
All children have at least one activity that involves movement and exercise that they would not mind doing on a regular basis. Whether it’s swimming during the summer time, racing their razor scooter in the park, or just having impromptu dance parties at home with their family; find out what excites your child. In fact, explore several different options together. Check out a new neighborhood park, sign up for a Fun Run/Walk, or play a new backyard game. Exercise is always more fun with a partner anyway!
2. Turn Exercise Into A Game
The easiest way to get my therapy clients to move during their sessions is to turn it into a game! I’m constantly searching for movement based board games and activities that are not only fun and engaging but target strength and endurance goals as well. Yoga Spinner is a great competitive yoga game that even the most reluctant kid yogis will enjoy (check out my toy review on Yoga Spinner here). I also make my own board games that encourage different types of exercises. Check out my free exercise board game printable! You also cannot go wrong with simply picking up a ball to play soccer or basketball outside or turning on the Wii for sports and dancing games.
3. Add Movement into Daily Routines
My biggest recommendation to parents when they ask about getting their kids to move more is to add exercise into their daily routine. This can be done seamlessly by adding movement into already established routines: a nighttime cool down before bed (ex: 5 minute yoga stretching) or weekend movement after breakfast with the whole family (ex: walking around the block). I’m also a big fan of turning on music and just dancing it out for a few minutes. Once you establish the importance of movement at an early age, it is more likely that those healthy routines will carry over into adulthood.
Final Thoughts On Motivating Kids
Remember that when encouraging more movement and exercise in kids, always come from a place of love and not shame. Never force your child to do an activity that they hate. There is usually a reason why they are self-conscious about doing that activity. Also, give compliments when deserved and join in when possible! It’s not only a good bonding experience but children know it’s a safe place when their loved ones are involved.
If you are looking for more tips for motivating kids to move, check out my top 10 list of gross motor games to buy for kids across all ages! Prefer a free option? Download the free exercise board game printable. Perfect for indoor and outdoor play!
Do you have any ideas on how to establish daily movement in kids? Comment below! I’d love to read them.