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How to Encourage Your Little Ones to Enjoy Exercise

Do your kids hate the thought of exercise? This is pretty common but it’s definitely not a lost cause. With some super smart tactics, you can switch things up

and change the way they see physical activity.

Here are some tips to help your family build a better relationship with exercise. They may even find that they start to love being active!

Exercise Together

Being active as a family is a great way to get your kids into exercise. If your little ones see you exercising (and looking like you’re enjoying it!), they’re more likely to copy you and do the same.

If they can see you actively engaging in exercise and having a super fun time doing it, it helps build a positive association with exercise and positions it as something that’s great to get involved in.

Look for fitness activities that you can do together — from walks and hikes to trampoline jumping and dance-offs. Get creative and have fun coming up with ideas that the whole family will enjoy.

Encourage Active Toys

For little ones, active toys can introduce exercise from an early age. You don’t need to get super fancy with this — a ball can be hugely effective. It doesn’t just get them moving; it’s also perfect for building their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

And if playing with these types of toys happens early on in life, it can make sure exercise is the norm from a super young age.

Use Technology to Motivate

Do your kids love technology? Use it to your advantage to get them motivated! Step counters, fitness trackers, and fitness apps can all be super useful for making fitness seem more fun for the younger members of the family. Try setting a target or two and encouraging them to use fitness technology to make progress towards it. If they’re super competitive, they’ll love going all out to beat their goal(s)!

Limit Screen Time

For many kids, screen time wins out over any form of physical activity. One easy way to turn this around? Take steps to reduce the amount of screen time and swap it for exercise.

The idea is super simple — cutting back on screen time leaves more free time for getting active!

Switch off the television, put devices on silent and look for ways to make exercise a priority instead. Aim for a maximum of 2 hours of screen time per day — preferably less. This is a huge struggle in my house, so don't think you're alone in trying to limit the screens. We all have this issue. Leading by example is a great way to start, followed by explaining the risks of too much screen time (to the older ones) and using a lot of positive reinforcement for the younger ones.

Experiment with Different Fitness Activities

Sometimes, a dislike of exercise stems from not having found an activity they enjoy. If you can find the sweet spot that they’ll love, it can turn things around.

Experimenting with different fitness activities makes it super likely that you’ll find one they can’t wait to get involved in. It might take some trial and error before you find one or two that work great. Think outside the box and get creative with your ideas!

Play Games

If your kids love to play video games, tap into this for your fitness plans. Games that use motion-sensor technology can be super effective at helping your little ones to have fun and be more active — often without them feeling as though they’re exercising!

These types of games encourage your kids to mimic the actions of what’s happening on screen to control the game through body movements — from bowling and tennis to boxing and dancing. It’s a whole heap of fun and oftentimes, it requires them to put in a ton of effort to keep up. The end result? Plenty of calories burnt without exercise feeling like a chore!

Experiment with different fitness options and you might be surprised to see what ultimately wins out for your little ones.

Make It a Routine

If fitness becomes a regular part of your family’s life, there’s a much bigger chance that they’ll come to accept it, even if they don’t wind up truly loving it.

Family fitness challenges are a super fun way to make physical activity a regular part of your family’s day-to-day life.

Look for everyday ways to burn more energy too. This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking further away at the grocery store to get your little ones into the habit of getting more active. Family bike rides at the weekend are another super easy way to add fitness into your family’s routine.

You might get a little bit of resistance to begin with but like all habits, it can quickly become the norm!

Check out the free Printable below for guidance on how to plan your Family Fitness Goals, breakdown your week for activities and individual goal setting. For the love of everything I stand for, PLEASE do not talk to your kids about weight, losing weight, restrictive diets, etc... you do exercise to be healthy and strong and THAT. IS. IT. MmmmKay???

Family Fitness Goals Printables
Download PDF • 200KB


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