The lure of screens makes kids want to stay indoors instead of going outside to play. With many schools turning to blended or online learning formats, kids have fewer opportunities for recess, physical education and after-school sports. Read on to learn about five ways to get your kids interested in fitness instead of screens.
1. Provide the Right Equipment
Keep your kids safe by providing the right equipment for the activities they want to do. When a child has the right equipment for fitness, they’re more likely to get up and be active. You could trade and borrow with other parents or visit a secondhand sports equipment store in order to save money on fitness equipment.
2. Let the Kids Choose the Activities
When parents pick the activities, kids might not have as much fun. Let the kids choose which type of fitness they do. Some kids might prefer bike rides, and others might like basketball or disc golf. If your child gets stuck in a rut of doing the same activity over and over, offer a suggestion of something related they might like. A child who likes swimming might also like canoeing, and kids who like gymnastics might want to try skating.
3. Make It Fun and Avoid Criticism
Many parents are guilty of criticizing their kids when they aren’t as good at a sport as the parents think they should be. This takes the fun out of fitness and sports, and it makes the child feel pressured and ashamed. Avoid criticizing your child. Even if they’re a little clumsy or have trouble with hand-eye coordination, don’t make a big deal about it. Allow your children to have fun, and don’t worry about whether they will be the next Olympic gold medalist or superstar athlete. Offer encouragement and positive feedback when you see your kids putting in a solid effort.
4. Sign Up for Kid’s Activities and Events
Many communities offer free and low-cost kid’s activities and events. Some nonprofits organize charity walks and runs, and they often include a kid’s component. Your kids might be able to participate in a 1-mile fun run or walk for a charity that helps other children or another cause that’s close to their heart. A kid’s soccer, t-ball, basketball or swimming team could help your child socialize and have fun while being active.
5. Be an Active Role Model
If you’re sitting on the couch using your smartphone most of the time, your kids will see that and wonder why they have to be active if you aren’t. Be an active role model for your kids. Let them see you engaging in fitness. You can even do family fitness activities together, such as visiting a metro or state park and going on a hike, renting a canoe or visiting a rock climbing wall. Choose a variety of activities, and allow your kids to pick some that they’d like to try.