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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Getting kids off the couch

Yesterday at my mini gym, I saw a parent trying to put a child on the stationary bike. The parent guided the child through stretches and the child complied with stretching, but was nervous about using the stationary bike. I have decided to share five simple keys to get kids off the couch.

 
 


1: Make it fun.

When  a child thinks that their parent is trying to make them do something, they may not want to do it. If your child is accustomed to playing their video games everyday afterschool the first day that you change that, they may be resistant. Instead of going straight home from school, stop by the park and let them play for 20-30 minutes. This way, you are not stopping them from playing the games, instead you are bringing in exercise.

2: Do it with them.
Children like to spend time with their parents. Studies show that time with  your children will help them in  life. The more that you spend time with your child, the more that the child will have an open and safe relationship with you. When you take the child to the park, play with them. You can push them on the swing, play tag or even walk with them to the park.

3: Set the example.
I am the first one to admit that I am tired when I get home from work. I do, however, make sure that I take at least 30 mins every night, to exercise. My child sees me making exercise a priority in my life. She does not think of exercise as something that I am forced to do or dread to do. She sees exercise as not only something I enjoy, but something that is a major part of my life. You have to make exercise a priority if you want your child to see it that way too.


4: Do not talk about their weight.
I was an overweight preteen and teen. When I was 13 years old, my doctor told me that I needed to lose weight. After that time, I became obsessed and depressed about my weight. There are many studies that talk about keeping the focus of weight out of the child's mind. The fact is that when we tell children that they need to lose weight, we often times create an unhealthy relationship with their feelings of self-worth and can intensify any weight problems that they may have. You can make the healthy changes without telling them that they are need of losing weight.


5: Keep trying.
There are many times that we can feel discouraged because the journey of changing your child's habits can be difficult. The child may seem resistant at every turn. Do not give up, just keep trying. If the child doesn't like playing at the park, sign them up to play a sport. If the child doesn't like sports, then get them a scooter, bike or even roller skates. Do not be afraid to try something new. Search the web for activities in your local area. If your child likes animals, you can take them to a local natural preserve and take a hike. You must think outside of the box.

I hope that some of these tips can encourage you. The idea is to give parents and caregivers, some simple tips that can be tried today. Leave a comment to let me know what you think.