Sadly, our culture’s kids and adults alike are becoming more and more sucked into appliances and planted on the couch. If you are one of the many parents that worry about their child’s lack of physical movement, there are a few key points to consider.

First of all, you’ll need to set a good example. If your kids see you constantly plugged in to your computer, iPhone, etc, you are unlikely to have much success in convincing them to do any differently. So, moving with your kids is the first place to start.

Second, choose activities that you both enjoy. You will be setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering if you force upon the family activities that no one looks forward to. And considering the endless options for types of exercise to choose from, why opt for something that doesn’t sound like fun?

Here are 25 different ideas to get up and moving with the whole family. Remember, kids who grow up developing the habit of regular physical activity are far less likely to develop problems such as obesity and all of its related medical conditions once they’re older. Here are 25 ways to get your kids moving today:

  1. Implement a mandatory after-dinner walk, whether you have a dog or not. You might get some dragging heels at first, but once it becomes routine, this is a fun and effective way to have daily activity be part of your routine.
  1. Buy a Frisbee and head to the nearest park.
  1. Depending on your children’s favorite sport(s), agree to buy them a special piece of equipment that you shop for together, related to that sport (soccer ball, basketball, baseball mitt, etcetera). Do this with the understanding that it will be used twice per week together with the family.
  1. Plant a garden together as a family. Not only is this excellent physical activity, but your kids will learn all sorts of valuable lesson that only come from mother nature. And, what kid doesn’t love getting his or her hands dirty, with parental approval?
  1. Find your local skating rink (ice or regular), and check it out. Rent skates there and truly put your balance to the test. At the very least, this option is sure to have everyone laughing.
  1. When you plan family vacations, make them active. This could be hiking, camping or somewhere with access to water and swimming.
  1. Instead of meeting other parents for coffee with their kiddos, meet and take a walk.
  1. Create a “picnic Sunday” Pack up a healthy lunch, head to the park, and bring games along that will get you all moving.
  1. Go bowling.
  1. Try a bit of healthy competition by challenging your kids to a game of basketball, soccer, volleyball, a race, etc. The idea of playing against and (perhaps) beating you will likely get them motivated. You can even turn it into a longer-term tournament and decide on a prize for the winner.
  1. Go for a family bike ride. If you have a little one, buy a trailer or appropriate bike seat.
  1. Community pools are often under-used and appreciated. Find out where your local community pool is located, and check it out. It truly is amazing how many calories kids can burn at a pool.
  1. Take a family hike.
  1. If you live in a cold climate, seek out an indoor playground in the winter.
  1. Take the stairs instead of elevators when you are out and about with your kids. They might whine in the moment, but they’ll be joining you for some serious exercise.
  1. If you take the bus together, get off a few stops before yours and walk the rest of the way.
  1. Exactly like you schedule time for homework and reading, schedule time for physical, active play. Decide how many times per week is feasible for you, and be sure to stick to the schedule.
  1. Sign your kids up for classes. Whether this is tae kwon do, dance, soccer, baseball or gymnastics, encourage your kids to try out various activities until they find the ones that they most enjoy.
  1. Get into the habit of riding your bikes together when going grocery shopping and/or running other errands, whenever possible. Investing in bike bags to carry purchases is a great alternative to uncomfortable backpacks.
  1. Set up a scavenger hunt for your kids outdoors and incorporate as much physical activity as possible.
  1. Play a family game of tag. You might be surprised at just how tiring this game can be!
  1. Build forts outside or inside on a rainy day. Not only will your kids be moving, but they’ll be majorly tapping into their imagination and creative powers.
  1. During your favorite family TV show, make it a game (and maybe even a competition) to see who can do the most push-ups, squats, etc during the 3-minute commercial break.
  1. Clean the house together. Assign one or more tasks to each child, turn on some upbeat music, and get cleaning all together. Remember, you might have to let go your need or expectation for perfection, as your child is probably just learning how to sweep, mop, clean the toilet, etc.
  1. Last but certainly not least, make a deal with your children for screen time. For every 1/2 hour or hour program that they are allowed to watch, implement the rule that they are committing to an equal amount of physical activity during that same week.

By choosing some of these ideas to get your kids up and moving, you will be setting your entire family up for a healthier lifestyle, and healthier future!

 

Rachel Fiske, NC, CPT-NASM Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California, and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel works with clients individually via skype, focusing on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes. Consultations include diet journal analysis, individualized menu planning, and herbal/supplementation protocols.