Getting kids to exercise can be a struggle. Young children can be non-stop bundles of energy from crack of sparrow to ‘please please please go to sleep’. If you’ve got one of these, you might be looking at the headline with an incredulous expression. Who needs to encourage kids to move? Or, you might have a child who refuses point blank to get active.
The blur of motion of early childhood doesn’t last. As kids get older they live less in the moment. They start to want more than the playground and pick up adult worries.
That means exercise can need a bit of a push. Here’s how.
Adults are programmed to be lazy. That comes from the cave days when food was limited and what there was had to be chased. It works less well now with sedentary lifestyles and food delivered to the door.
Resist the temptation of a weekend on the sofa. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and get out the door. Make walking to places the default option if at all possible. Rainy day? Coats on, wellies on, no arguing.
Kids love challenges and counting, so reps and sets will instantly appeal. They are also ridiculously flexible, love to imitate and don’t mind getting puffed. So why not make an all-ages home gym? You don’t need much space to do burpees, and only a little more for skipping or hula hooping. Or head to the park for outdoor gyms, jogging or a family kickabout. There’s no need for anyone to be left on the sidelines watching.
Same as for adults – make fitness fun and it won’t be a chore. Look out for weekend events, many of which are now geared to families. Fun runs, colour runs, toddler challenges and ‘try a sport’ days happen regularly over the summer in most places, especially in cities. You get exercise, so do the kids and everyone goes home happy to sleep well. Result.
I agree it's much easier when they're younger. But I'm sure if we instill the habit in these early years and give them a love of activity, they 'll be more likely to enjoy them throughout their teenagehood too.
I'm making the most of the primary years when there's no need to push them to get moving! We have an outdoor gym in our nearby park and weather permitting it is just the trick for all of us.
having older children now, I realise how simple it was back then to get them active by doing family things. When they gt to be 'tweenagers' it's not nearly so easy, as walks are 'boring' and most of the activities they want to do cost loads of money"