Healthy living is a choice that can be made as early as childhood. Many good habits can be set in stone during a person’s formative years. This makes it a parent’s job to make exercise as appealing and enjoyable as possible.
But as many who’ve tried can attest, getting a child into sports when they aren’t already inclined can be a very difficult thing. Take these three bits of advice into consideration the next time you try and get your son or daughter out the door and into the game.
- Make Fun A Priority
The health-and-fitness approach to encouraging exercise barely works on adults, if we’re being realistic. Many people have a difficult time seeing the long-term benefits of exercise –and that’s perfectly fine. But since health is important whether or not we accept it, there’s a need to prove to your child that getting active is something they’d enjoy.
Know your child’s hobbies and interests, and then use those to egg them into trying out a new sport or activity. Be sure to relate said activity to existing interests as much as you can –it takes a little creativity, but a number of parents swear by this approach. Investing in sportswear that features their favorite characters or logos, like a good pair of Strideline Socks, can be one way of making them feel in-touch with what they love, especially since they’re at a point in their lives where their imaginations are at an all-time high.
- Show, Don’t Tell
Younger children tend to follow examples set by their parents. It’s a basic tenet of learning and development that you should definitely use to your advantage when attempting to form healthy habits among your children. The case of physical activity is no exception: exercising or engaging in physical activity with your child offers a greater shot at capturing their interest than simply telling them to play. And waiting to see if the habit sticks.
Your odds of success might improve if exercise becomes an affair for the whole family, with each member putting on their brightest smile and making the experience of chasing fitness a pleasant and desirable thing. This promotes health among all family members, and builds teamwork –especially if you dress the part of a team with homespun apparel or custom socks.
- Keep ‘Em Well-Fed
This isn’t so much a call for proper nutrition (though that would be well-advised) as it is a hint at the wonders that the right post-workout food can do for forming habits among kids. Taking your child to their favorite pizza place for a quick bite can be a great reward in the early days of forming a habit of exercise.
These can form positive associations between exercise and positive stimuli as the weeks go by and the child grows to appreciate the fun in exercise alone. The secret is in getting over the initial laziness or disinterest and letting the natural endorphin rush that comes with exercise work its magic.
Getting your child fit and active pays off well in the long term. While it may ultimately be a thankless endeavor, the same can be said for most of parenting anyway –the comfort of knowing your child is that much safer from preventable disease should be reward enough.