Encouraging your child to be physically active

In today's society, parents should make extra effort to ensure their child gets the physical activity they need.

With all the technology that we have, the top-notch televisions and pre-occupation with cellular devices that provide entertainment, communication and companionship, it is becoming more and more difficult to get children to be physical active. In addition, the adults around children are not exactly models of, or, physical activity. Help your child make physical activity part of their everyday with these tips from Michigan State University Extension:

  • Promise your child a specified time to play outside if they complete their homework. If physical activity is seen as a reward, they will value the activity more.
  • When discussing rewards for good behavior or success, offer a smorgasbord of physical activity, like riding their bikes, playing in the park or going for a swim and your child will accept this as standard rewards.
  • If physical activity is an expectation, the behavior will not be questioned or frowned upon.
  • When purchasing gifts, focus on items that promote physical activity, like buying a bicycle, skateboard, hula-hoop, pogo stick and jump ropes, etc. Remember to include all safety equipment with your purchase.
  • If cost is a factor, include free or low-cost activities like going to the beach, park and community playground or in-door play places.
  • Help your child identify the physical activities that they enjoy, this way they will not see it as a burden or punishment, but a joy.
  • Encourage your child to participate in an organized sport, avoid over scheduling their activities.
  • Organize play dates with other parents/caregivers, this way the child will look forward to the activity.
  • Play along with your child, you will benefit from the exercise and you will create memories to last a lifetime.
  • Plan family activities to benefit all family members and promote healthy family relationships.

To find more information on what and how much exercise is needed, visit http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html.

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