Getting the Kids to Exercise - dummies

By Suzanne Schlosberg, Liz Neporent

Part of Fitness For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Helping your kids get off the couch and in shape prepares them to become healthy adults. Here’s how to tap into children’s natural love of movement and get the whole family in shape:

  • Plan new traditions. Is Saturday morning a time for sausage and pancakes? What about replacing that with a brisk walk to the local park or a bike ride around town?

  • Make physical activity a family policy. You may even have to make exercise mandatory. But after kids get rolling, they won’t fight it anymore.

  • Limit screen time by keeping a television and computer out of your child’s bedroom. Only 30 percent of kids say they have time limits on watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer. But when parents do set limits, children cut screen time by a whopping three hours a day.

  • Take adventure walks in the neighborhood or the woods. Or take your kids to the park to play soccer, Wiffle ball, or kickball, or climb on the jungle gyms. Toddlers love games like red light/green light and Simon Says.

  • Put fun first so kids don’t feel judged by their sports performance. Instead of incessantly correcting their form or praising them for their skill on the soccer field, let them find their groove and focus on the great time they’re having.

  • If your kid is a gamer, consider an active game. Games like Wii Fitness and Dance Dance Revolution burn calories and develop coordination while providing plenty of fun and entertainment.