Have you ever tried to encourage your kids to exercise? Getting my nieces to do a workout with me was more tiring than the actual exercise! They would complain and drop to the floor like a deflated balloon. Generally speaking, children typically dislike “forced” exercise, or any other activity they feel they’re forced into. This may be due to the fact that there is a large gap between how adults and kids view the world and the necessary tasks in life. This might seem obvious, but in reality we tend to ignore that fundamental fact when we approach kids with requests and demands about physical activity. I almost gave up on getting my nieces active until I learned these techniques to overcome their resistance and get them excited about exercising
Treat Kids as They Are
You have to remember that kids are little people who do not have the same stamina and interests that adults do. They do not exercise for health. Instead, exercise needs to be similar to some form of play. Instead of badgering my nieces into exercise, I discovered some ways to make exercise fun and motivating for them.
For example, every time I spent time with them I’d show them a cool new yoga pose. These movements and poses always tend to look extravagant, fun and approachable. And getting kids interested in new and interesting movement patterns is a great way to improve their kinetic awareness. By using imagination or “dare” challenges, they improved little by little. They would even try to impress me with movements they rehearsed every now and then. Get kids immerse them in creative forms of movement!
It’s time to break out the Don Draper suit and get copy-writing. You can’t just ask your kid to do a “pushup” or a “front squat” while using boring, washed out exercise names. Get creative and make up fun names for exercises and poses you’d want them to perform with you.
For example, you could describe the ‘Paschimottanasana’ (forward bend) pose as “sandwich pose”, which sounds way more amusing and fun for kids. After the initial phase of laughter, you may see a great response and willingness to follow your lead –you’ve upped your fun factor!
Take It to the Next Level with Youth Fitness Classes
If you’ve recognized that your kid is improving his/her fitness and enjoying the whole idea of physical activity, it might be a good idea to enroll them in a structured fitness class. These classes tend to combine both fun and fitness for kids, while providing them with ample opportunities to play & interact with others of the same age. This may also encourage them tp exercise more frequently, as current research shows. The combination of fitness and friendship has proven to be a great tool to build up confidence for kids.
Keep in mind however that youth fitness classes must be age appropriate as to take children’s sizes and psyche into consideration. You would also want to have a chat with the class instructor to make sure that he/she is trained & qualified to lead the class.
Help them Gear Up
If your children are already showing interest in doing some form of exercise, encourage them further by buying them exercise and sport gear. Buying them their own yoga mat may encourage your kids to do stretching exercises with you. Or if you and your children are fond of running, purchase cool new running sneakers in their favorite colors. If you are into boxing, buy them their own gloves. Giving your children a sense of identity and independence while supporting their physical activity with the appropriate gear can boost their self esteem. If you’re resourceful enough, you may be able to sneak in a few workout pieces for you as well! (*wink*)
Encourage your kids to be active by creating play through exercise. It may be hard work for you, but if your kids are having fun they will put all their effort into it. In turn, you’ll have played a valuable role in the upbringing of healthy, active & happy individuals.