I’ve mentioned once or twice that we have two sets of kids, the grown up “blue set”, and our twins, “the pink set.” I remember being a little girl, the middle child with a brother on each side of me, and declaring one day, “I WILL NOT have sons, only daughters, because boys are awful!”
Funny that I grew up and gave birth to two boys. But life in the blue world was amazingly fun, always active, and never dull. It was a life filled with pedal cars and trikes and every sort of outdoor toy for kids imaginable. I knew the blue world. I rocked the blue world.
So imagine my surprise when God decided to plop down twin girls into our lives. Initially I thought, “This is going to be great! We can play dolls, and watch Disney princess movies together. It’s going to be amazing.”
And it was. Until I realized I was creating couch potatoes with all that doll playing and Disney movie watching. I needed to get those girls MOVING.
But let’s get real. Wouldn’t it be easy for most of us to let our kids spend their days watching TV and playing video games? If we want our kids to lead active lives, we’ve got to help motive them to be active.
How To Motivate Your Kids to Be Active
Step One: Limit Screen Time
Okay, I know everyone “knows” this, but if you aren’t intentional about it, Screen Time (TV, Video Games, Computers, Notebooks) creeps up on you and takes over your day. Our rules at home are pretty simple.
- No Screens in the morning, except on Saturday
- One movie a day (unless someone is sick, including mom, and then all bets are off)
- Two TV shows a day
- We don’t do video games or computer games yet b/c I personally think 5 is just too young for that
That’s it! It doesn’t matter what your “rules” are, just set some boundaries and stick to them.
Step Two: Play Outside
It’s crazy that we had to be intentional about “Play Outside” but I guess it’s like anything else in life these days, if you don’t schedule it in, it doesn’t happen. So every day we are intentional about going outside. Of course, the girls would be content to blow bubbles, find bugs (true story) or play with sidewalk chalk, so we take it a step farther and actually have them play with outside toys for kids that make them move. (Think pulling wagons, playing in the sprinkler, hopscotch, you get the idea!)
Step Three: Move Your Legs
Yep, this is an actual goal. We try to do something every day that involves moving our legs. Your legs are the largest muscle on your body, so you want to make them strong ones!
- Play chase
- Ride Pedal toys like pedal cars or pedal planes or trikes or bikes
- Jump on a trampoline
- Swing (yes, that requires your leg muscles)
And on rainy days, we break the rules and play hide-n-seek inside and live life on the crazy edge and run indoors! (Calm down. I do what I want.)
Step Four: Make Exercise Fun
As your kids get older, they won’t really “play” for exercise, and if they are like most adults, they’ll become inactive, stressed out slugs (okay, that’s an overstatement. I’m trying to be dramatic!) My point is teaching them to enjoy exercise at an early age is important.
Here are some great and simple exercises you can do with your kids.
- Jumping Jacks or Jumping Rope
- Squats (kids love to do squats!)
- Running (I’m not talking a 5K here, but running is great for the cardiovascular system)
- Yoga for Kids
- Swimming (not just the bounce around in the pool kind)
This list could go on forever. But you get the idea. Help your kids enjoy exercising by setting aside some time each week for it.
Motivating your kids to be active helps them have a positive self-image, aids in brain development, and helps them develop a love for a healthy, active lifestyle.
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