How to Encourage Your Child to Have Regular Physical Activity

With so much technology that is enticing to children, we are seeing a severe decline in physical activity rates amongst children and teenagers. This is a problem that has been growing for the past decade or so and is likely to get worse as the digital world is becoming more enticing than the world of play. Encouraging a child to commit to regular physical activity can be difficult at times but there are definitely good ways to help make that push a little easier and show them that this is something they want to do. 


Here is how you can encourage your child to have more physical activity.

Refrain From the Shame

Parents make a critical error when they want their kids to go outside and play. They use shame as a tactic to get them off of their phones, out of their rooms, and to turn off the TV. Using shame comes in the form of making them feel different for wanting to be inside or using your own experience as a kid to make an example of normal behavior. In the long term, children will just internalize this and feel that they are different in a bad way and that will cause them to retract and likely avoid physical activity. Ditch the shame, it is not healthy.

Set a Good Example

Children lead by example in many instances. They want to grow up to be like mom or dad, they want to walk, talk, act, and eat the same things. When it comes to mimicking the things that mom and dad do, children will likely pick up on physical activity as a fun hobby or lifestyle if they see that it is something that you like to do as well. Parents who are more active recreationally are more likely to have children that are also active because they see this as a good act of role modeling. Setting a good example is a great way to not only be healthier yourself if you are not already active, help encourage your child to do so as well, and have a bonding activity between them and yourself.

Provide Them With the Resources

Another issue when it comes to encouraging children to be more physically active is that they do not have the resources to do so. While running, swimming, playing with friends, and many other forms of physical activity are free, a lot of children may find them boring because they do not have goals. Children are more complex than we think and goal-oriented play is important even at a young age. This is why giving them the right resources to provide that kind of play is necessary for their encouragement. The indoor putting green at is one of many types of resources that can be provided, and it gives advantages in being good for indoor play as well. Other options are basketball nets, baseball tees, and of course, bicycles. Giving your child the tools to be able to commit to healthy physical activity and play is highly necessary for encouraging them to participate.

Finding the Right Activity 

Not every child wants to run outside and go until they are exhausted. Not every child wants to play soccer. There is a lot of diversity in terms of what physical activity your child might like so it is necessary you exhaust as many options as possible to find what works and what does not. Children need a lot of stimuli so it takes trial and error to see if they like basketball, soccer, golf, swimming, cycling, or some other activity. If they are not motivated themselves, then there is no use pushing a sport or activity on them, as they will most often just end up resenting the activity down the line.

Give Them Support

This point could have easily been slotted in with the first or second, but as it stands, unswerving support should be mentioned separately. Being there to encourage them is important and telling them it is okay to fail is important. They will not love every sport or game, and that is okay because they will likely find one and you cheering for them regardless goes a long way.

Giving your child the proper encouragement to engage in physical activity can feel like an uphill battle when video games, TV, and other technology exists but at the end of the day, it is all about psychology. Helping your child get more active involves as much effort on your part as it does theirs, the exception being you need to be the role model and support their efforts, then the results will come.

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