As parents, it is natural for us to be concerned about the health of our children. Though we want them to eat well and get enough sleep, we also do not want our little ones to suffer from obesity or other illnesses caused by sedentary lifestyles. That being said, regular exercise is extremely important for children in their growing years as it helps them to maintain a healthy body weight, strengthen bones and muscles, as well as reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases later in life. Beyond improving fitness, physical activity also provides a multitude of benefits such as improved dexterity, cognitive thinking, social interaction skills, emotional stability, and academic performance.
With overweight children more likely to become obese adults, in order to promote healthy growth and development. However, in today’s digital world, most children have their eyes glued to their computer or smartphone screens and are reluctant to try new physical activities or sports. Truthfully speaking, it’s difficult enough for adults – who understand the importance of exercise – to find the motivation to stay active, imagine the inertia your child has to overcome in order to make the conscious decision to exercise regularly. However, you do not need to worry just yet about your little one developing a diminished sense of well-being. There are various different ways for you, as a parent, to encourage your child to stay physically active so that they can reap the physical, emotional, social and cognitive benefits of regular exercise.
How to Encourage Your Child to Exercise
Just like adults, children tend to have a preference in everything they do, including sports. To help your little one develop the long-lasting habit of exercising regularly, you need to think outside the box and find the right sport or workout routine for your child. By helping your young one find something that they can enjoy wholeheartedly, the more likely they are to continue it as they grow older. There are several ways to motivate your child to get off their digital devices and work up a sweat, here are some ideas that you can try with them:
Focus on Fun
It’s no secret that children love to play, whether it’s at a video game or a casual round of Catch with friends at the park. There are a ton of exercises to choose from that you can incorporate fun in, and it will give your little one the push that they need to participate in what you have planned for them. For instance, if you observe that your child enjoys dancing along to music, you can challenge them to learn a simple choreography you found online. Not only will emphasising fun in exercise encourage your young one to try new activities, it might even spark their passion for a certain sport and enable them to foster their natural talent for it.
Exercise with Your Child
Children at a young age typically rely heavily on their parents’ support and guidance in completing their daily tasks until they’re old enough to handle it independently. If your little one is new to exercise, it might be a good idea to accompany them in the initial stages of their fitness journey. While environmental factors play a part in a child’s development, most of what and how they learn is actually through mimicking your habits at home, be it good or bad. By setting yourself up to be a great role model for your child and staying active, they will feel more inclined to follow in your footsteps and exercise regularly with you.
Find Age-appropriate Activities
It is important to find developmentally appropriate activities for your child when encouraging them to start exercising. For instance, lifting weights and going for a long-distance jog may not be the best suggestions as your little one can get confused by the complex gym equipment or get bored easily. Instead, you can take them swimming or rollerblading to keep them engaged and active at the same time. Additionally, children need to build confidence, strength and coordination at their young age to lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle. Parents can brainstorm with their little ones to find suitable activities that will fit their personality, abilities and interests to cultivate a love for exercising regularly.
Empower Your Child with MindSpace by MindChamps Today
At MindSpace by MindChamps, we believe in nurturing future champions and scholars through specially designed curricula and programmes. Using decades-long worth of neuroscience research to create an effective and unique pedagogy, our after school care programmes and weekend enrichment classes enable children of various ages to develop the Champion Mindset and strengthen their academic foundations.
While exercise is a great way to maintain health, improve problem-solving skills, boost academic achievement and more, there are also other ways to protect your little one’s brain health such as through practical and developmental learning models.
With a deep focus on teaching children how to learn rather than what to learn, we have designed the NeuroMooves™ module which helps to enhance your child’s physical and neural development through activities that enrich their whole-brain learning experience. Through a series of structured and semi-structured physical movements and games, your young one will be equipped with the fundamental movement skills to continue being involved in physical activity in their later life, as well as the ability to regulate their mental and emotional well-being.