life on the funny farm

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Motivating Kids to be Active

I have a wonderful guest post for you today from the lovely and talented Caitlin Hudson.  Take it away, Caitlin!


Motivating Kids to be Active
A post from Caitlin Hudson

With all the electronic distractions, it seems my kids could be happy never leaving their rooms some days. Just give them an iPad, and they’re good to go. But it’s not good for them to live like that. It’s important that they stay fit and exercise regularly, especially as they get older. Once they become teenagers, their natural resistance will make it even harder to get them to try new routines. Starting while kids are young is the wisest move. But if older kids and teenagers need to get in shape, there are still some good ideas to get them moving.

Monkey see monkey do
An important thing to remember, especially with younger children, is that they learn by example. If you want your kids to lead an active life, you also need to practice what you preach. I try to show my kids that exercising is fun and enjoyable. I make it a fabric of my own life and that rubs off on my family too. On the weekends my husband and I try to make it a family affair. Quality time, family bonding and little sibling rivalry can go a long way. Some of my fondest memories growing up involve playing games outside with my siblings, and I hope to provide my children with the same.

Outdoor activities
When the weather’s reasonable, it’s great to get the kids outside. During the summer and fall, my kids never seem to want to go inside. They will run and play for hours. We love to patronize splash pads and water parks. In the spring and fall, we go hiking. I have found that motivation can go a really long way. A kid who ordinarily would think a walk or a hike is really boring might be more excited with a scavenger hunt of items to find on the trail. You can find great ideas for scavenger hunt ideas. Sports are also a great idea. Not only does it also teach them the importance of teamwork, but being around other kids their age is great for socializing and many times, this is where they make great friends. A little competition plus vigorous exercise can really encourage healthy development.






Screen-time
Motivation can work just as well at home. It just takes the right approach. Kids and teens watch an appalling amount of television, despite expert recommendations that they have no more than two hours of screen time per day. So, I try to maximize that time. Balance balls are fun and work several muscle groups. I incorporate them into my own workouts, but my kids really enjoy bouncing on them while they watch TV.  Otherwise, competition at home is just as good as competition on the field. There are numerous pieces of equipment such as the Wii and Wii Fit that are designed to get families up and moving. The games are fun and improve balance and coordination while burning calories. For a lower-tech approach, I like to have a family calisthenics competition during commercial breaks. The person who does the most pushups, stomach crunches or squats gets to pick a healthy snack for all of us to share.

Let’s face it–we all could do with a little less sitting on the couch and a little more getting up and moving. The best thing I can do for my kids’ health is for me to set a good example. If I stay active and help them understand that exercising is important to me, it will be more important to them. And the work we do as a family to improve our fitness will last them into adulthood.



Author Bio:
Hi all, I'm Caitlin Hudson, a full-time SAHM, nature lover, writer, and health nut! I am in the process of starting my own blog, but in the meantime, Anne has been generous enough to let me contribute to her awesome blog. Today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tricks to get younger kids to exercise and be active! If you have any questions feel free to email me at Caitlin.hudson1@gmail.com!




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