As childhood obesity continues to be a problem across the United States, parents are struggling to find ways to get their kids outside and exercising. Part of the problem is that most kids just want to play and have fun, not spend their time working out and being bored.
To solve this problem, parents need to find ways to combine the fun of play with physical exercise. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can get your child to exercise all while they feel like they’re playing a game or just having some fun.
Youth Sport Leagues
Towns and cities will often have youth sports teams for both boys and girls that your kid may enjoy. Putting your kid on a youth sports team will give them a lot of exercise, help them to get into shape, and improve their teamwork skills. Your child will be exercising at practices and games, multiple times a week, for hours at a time. You won’t have to be there to supervise, as the team coach will be watching and instructing the kids, letting you use the time to work or rest. You should try not to miss too many games, because your child will feel much more motivated if you are watching, and you might even be proud to see just how far your kid has come. There are some kids who may not want to join a sports team, and that’s fine. There are many other ways to get your kid outside and active.
Get a Pet
Although this option might be too burdensome for some families, pets can be a great way to get your kid outside and exercising. With an active pet like a dog, your child can take him for a walk every day, play fetch, or just horse around with him and his toys. Your child will have a lot of fun playing with your new pet all while exercising and learning a bit about responsibility. If this idea is not something your family can accommodate, there are plenty more options for getting your kid outside and active.
For the more outdoorsy families, hiking can be a great option to get your child to exercise. Family hiking trips can be a lot of fun. Walking for an hour or two on some trails in a forest or national park can be a great way to find some family bonding time. While hiking, you may want to try out geocaching or letterboxing. Both are a great way to get your child more involved and motivated. Additionally, hiking can be great exercise for parents, and it doesn’t have to consume your entire day. If you have a trail or park near your house, you can take your child for a few hours, maybe on a weekend or after work. Many people wrongly associate hiking with multi-day long camping trips, but the two don’t have to go together. Hiking can be a lot of fun on its own. Not every kid will be interested in hiking, but for those that are, this is a great way for both you and your kid to get some exercise.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but for some kids, the best way to get them outside and exercising is through video games. More and more video game companies a starting to create apps for phones that focus on getting kids outside and active while they play. One such game is Pokémon Go. This game lets players go out into the real world to walk around and find Pokémon, collect items, and battle with other players over Pokémon gyms. There is even a mechanic in the game that rewards players for walking long distances. Players can hatch eggs to obtain Pokémon, and these eggs only hatch when a player has walked two, five, or ten kilometers. There are other games, like Ingress, that can also encourage kids to go outside and be active. If your child is older, you won’t even need to supervise them to ensure that they are getting exercise when they play these types of games.
It’s not always easy to motivate your kid to go outside and exercise, but what matters the most is finding a way to help your child stay active and healthy. Sports, pets, hiking, and even video games are all potential solutions. However, every child is different, and it’s up to parents to figure out the best way to help their child. These suggestions might just be the methods you need to finally get your child outside.