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Physical activity is important for children with diabetes. All the more so for children, who are still growing and developing.
Lack of physical activity can lead to a host of health issues from obesity to heart disease. But these days kids seem to get less and less active, spending most of their time on computer screens or in front of TVs.
So how do you make your child enthusiastic about keeping physically active and having a healthy lifestyle?
Here are 12 ways that parents have found successful in motivating their kids to exercise!
How to motivate your child to exercise
It’s not easy to get your child motivated to exercise, but most children will benefit from regular physical activity in order to have a healthy weight.
Setting aside time every day for exercise is the best way to keep kids fit, but it can be hard finding the motivation to actually do it.
There are several ways you can encourage your child to become more physically active and reap the benefits of active children.
1) Make it Fun
There’s no point if they aren’t enjoying themselves; find something that works for them – maybe a bike ride, doing the jump rope, or swimming will be a good start if they’ve never been involved in sports before.
If your child is not keen on exercise at first, try getting together with some other friends with the same interests and go out running together.
2) Take it Seriously
Make sure your child knows how important physical activity is for his/her health – take him/her to a diabetes conference that might make an impact, or speak to their doctor about the benefits of exercising. Your child’s teacher may be able to recommend some kind of after-school activity.
3) Don’t Neglect
Your child is already busy with school, homework, social activities and besides, so he/she may not enjoy exercise on his/her own at first – so make sure you take the time to play active games together and engage in some physical activity yourself by being a role model! Kids are more likely to do something if you’re doing it too.
4) Encourage Them To Get Involved
Kids are much more likely to stick with physical activity if they’re doing it alongside their friends – encourage your child to join a sports league like a soccer team or even a dance club.
5) Plan A Hobbie Together
Going for walks, biking and swimming are all good activities for kids as well as adults. They can provide a chance to talk and enjoy each other’s company without being distracted by their electronic devices!
6) Eat Well
Make sure your kids eat nutritious foods during the day, so they have enough energy for physical activity later on. And make sure you get plenty of exercises yourself – that way you’ll be more likely to inspire your child to get involved!
Recognize that some school-aged children are just not very active.
If your child does not enjoy team sports, encourage him/her to go swimming, walk the dog or go biking instead.
If your child is happy playing video games and watching TV you might want to consider buying them a Wii, an Xbox 360, or a computer with an internet connection so they can stay active in the virtual world too!
The more physically active your child is the better off his/her health will be – even if it’s just moderate activity like regular walking and cycling.
8) Try Something New Together
In order to make exercise fun for kids try something new together; maybe going for walks in nature during summer or cross-country skiing during winter. Or if you all agree upon it join a dance class together!
9) Pick the Right Time and Location
Kids are much more likely to do something if they can be involved in it right away, so pick something that’s convenient for them.
If you’re going out on a hike try to go at a time when your child is free and might enjoy coming with you. Make sure to find places where they can run around freely too – like parks or playing fields; even a schoolyard will do wonders in a pinch!
10) Take It Slow
Don’t expect your child to go on marathon runs every day when they’ve never been really active before.
Start slow and work up from there – after all, you have plenty of time for them to get into shape! Be patient, and they’ll get there eventually.
11) Make Exercising A “Habit”
Make keeping fit part of your family’s daily routine; try getting everyone to go for short walks together after dinner or even before breakfast!
When the whole family is involved in making fitness a part of their lives, it can be so much more fun than sitting around watching TV all day.
12) Be Proud
If you manage to get your child up and moving regularly make sure you give him/her praise for his/her efforts as well as support!
It takes time to turn kids into active adults – but with love and hard work, your child will become a healthier person who is better able to handle the rigors of his/her diabetes.
There are so many ways to get your children excited about physical activity, but the best way is to make it fun.
Take exercise seriously and encourage your child to participate in some type of sports or other forms of active movement. You can also plan a sport together as a family by going on hikes, playing basketball or soccer, taking up tennis–there’s no shortage of options!
Eat well and try making exercising an everyday habit with your child; this will help you both stay fit for life! Be proud of every step they take towards being healthy individuals who grow up knowing how important health is.
Finally, don’t forget my For A Healthy Me! Workbook for Kids which will help you teach your child about the importance of eating right and being active!