How to Get Your Kids to Exercise at Home
A year has passed, and we are still cooped up inside our homes. It’s hard to find motivation to get your family up and moving, but it can be a fun family activity. By keeping your child active, it can help reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other health conditions. Research shows that kids who are physically active perform better in school. The brain health benefits include improved memory and reduced symptoms of depression. Also, by encouraging the importance of exercise at an early age, it can aid in developing long-term healthy habits. Below we share a few tips on how to get your child to exercise at home.
1. Be a role model.
It’s easy for your kids to want to work out and be active if they see you living a healthy lifestyle. You can ride bikes with your kids, go on a walk, play football, go swimming or ask them to work out with you. The possibilities are endless. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children age 6 and older require at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
2. Involve them in household chores.
This is a sneaky way to get your child active as well as teaching them responsibilities. Your child can help with washing cars, picking up toys, vacuuming, sweeping or putting dishes away.
3. Limit TV and online gaming.
It’s important to put a limit on your child’s screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time for children and teenagers, and absolutely no screen time for children under the age of 2. With the extra free time, this will inspire them to find other activities. Encourage them to play outside or in the backyard. You can share your favorite outside activities from childhood, such as jump rope, hopscotch or hula hoop. The time will quickly pass, and they won’t regret it!
4. Purchase physical activity gifts.
If possible, purchasing a new toy will help inspire physical activity in your kids. Gift ideas include rollerblades, a skateboard, trampoline, basketball goal or even a Wii sport console.
5. Have family field trips.
On the weekend or after school, take your kids to the park, the zoo, miniature golfing or the aquarium. Walking during these family outings is a great way to promote physical activity, and it’s also fun!
6. Make it competitive and set a goal.
Discuss the importance of physical activity with your child and set goals. The goal can be to play outside for at least one hour every day or have an hourlong dance party every night with the family. If they can achieve this goal for a week or month, reward them with a gift or dinner at their favorite restaurant. By rewarding your child for achieving a goal, it will help motivate them to continue to make healthy habits.
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The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.