Guest post from Annabelle Short
In a day and age where technology consumes our lives and the lives of our children, motivating our children to be more physically active can be almost impossible.
Did you know that only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day?
Between smartphones, tablets, and television, many children have lost the trait of physical literacy and instead, spend hours of their free time glued to their devices.
A majority of children and teens spend more than 7 hours each day – on average – using their phones, televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.
However, we can encourage and motivate them to be more physically active through fostering creative and active activities and leading by example.
Benefits of physical activity for children with special needs are countless. The important factor in choosing appropriate activity for children with disabilities should be fun. Once you have selected appropriate activity, you should define goals, i.e. health, social, or recreational goals.
Don’t wait any longer.
Start motivating your child to be more physically active today with these five tips:
- Get the whole family involved.Getting your child up and active starts with leading by example. Your child probably has the mindset of “If you don’t have to do it, then, why do I?”
However, physical activity is good for the entire family, so don’t single out one child. Make a point to have a half-day family activity each weekend like a bike ride or a family walk.
If the weather isn’t on your side, try making indoor activities fun. Encourage your child to participate in household chores. Turn on the music and do it with them.
You will find that you all feel better when the house is clean and you have gotten a little exercise in.
- Incorporate creative activities.Try building something with your child – a great day of fun can be had by building an outdoor treehouse or even just a small playhouse. It will get them outdoors, active and give them something to play with in the future as well.
Let your child help you build the structure then encourage them to decorate it using markers, paint, ribbons, and other artistic accessories.
Encourage your child to spend some time outside drawing with sidewalk chalk or even painting in the yard.
By taking creative activities outdoors you are encouraging them to improve both their physical and mental well-being.
- Make physical fitness a part of their day.If you live close enough that you have the option to bike or walk to the store, use that as an opportunity to save on gas and motivate them to be active.
One idea for incorporating fitness into their day is to offer to walk with them to the store to purchase their treat with their allowance money they earned for helping with chores.
Or, encourage them to come shopping with you at the local farmer’s market. Add that they can help you with the “big-kid task” of grocery shopping by picking out the best fruits and vegetables.
This also helps promote healthy eating which will give them more energy to be more physically active.
- Adopt a new pet.It is no secret that a new pet has just as much – if not more – energy than a young child. A new puppy is anxious to run outside and roll around in the grass, but then still sits at the door waiting to be taken on a walk.
Try adding a new, furry member to the family to encourage your child to be more active.
Exercise is much more fun when there is a goal or task in mind, such as taking the dog for a walk.
- Get them to help with household chores.Most kids don’t naturally enjoy doing chores, but they are a part of life.
Encourage your child to help you with chores by making it a game – turn on some music while they clean their room, have them make up a song while they sweep the sidewalk.
By turning work into a game, you will distract them from the fact that they are doing chores and being active because they will have fun doing it.
A simple task such as watering the plants and pulling weeds is a great way to get your child outdoors and breaking a sweat!
Encourage your child to be more physically active by offering them options. Sometimes, they just have no idea what to do which can lead to anger and frustration.
Continuously feed them creative ideas and encourage them to be physically active.
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