You love your children, and you want them to grow up to have long and healthy lives. One of the best ways to do this is to get them to love exercise from an early age. However, many parents seem to be struggling with this in America nowadays. In fact, obesity is becoming an increasing problem among kids, with nearly 18% of children under the age of 11 having severe weight problems. If you want to avoid becoming part of this worrying trend, then you need to motivate your children to keep on the move.
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In today’s modern world, it’s all too easy for children to fall into bad habits and let exercise take a backseat. Part of the problem is modern technology – they want to watch their favorite program on TV, or play the latest video games. While these are okay in moderation, too much time spent in front of a screen can turn your child into a couch potato. Consider restricting the amount of time that they can do this – for instance, let them play on their video console for one hour a day, and then insist that they switch it off. The truth is that kids have boundless energy, so if you turn off the TV and leave them to their own devices, they are going to start moving around all by themselves.
Another major problem is that there are a huge number of pressures on children today. They worry about fitting in, and often have low self-esteem because of all of the images and ideals that they are exposed to through the media. This can cause kids to withdraw, and to give up on trying to measure up to the ideals that modern society sets for them. The way kids see themselves has a big impact on how they actually behave, so if they don’t think that they have what it takes to be athletic, they won’t even try to participate in sports. Parents need to work with their kids to build an athletic identity – this can be as simple as kicking the ball around the backyard with your children, or even taking them on cycle rides with the family. It is important to be supportive and nonjudgmental when you do this – for example, the worst thing you can do is to get mad at your kids when they don’t do well at organized sports.
You also need to give your children the opportunity to exercise. For example, basketball courts in backyards are a great way of encouraging your kids to stay fit. They can use them any time, and can invite their friends over to join in the fun. Not only will this give them the exercise they need, it will help them to build their confidence and create relationships with other children.
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Finally, there is absolutely no point in forcing your child to engage in sports that they don’t like. You may have to try out several things, but if you can find an activity that arouses their passion, they are much more likely to exercise on a regular basis. On the other hand, if exercise becomes a chore, they will abandon it as soon as they have an opportunity.