There’s no reason to despair if your little ones aren’t impressed with the idea of religiously practicing karate or taking up a group sport to chase after a ball. Some kids have different inclinations, whether they are into video games, chess, reading, drawing, or whatever else it could be. While you should help them develop their interests, kids are too young to fully grasp the importance of developing their bodies, building their health and resilience, their cognitive and motor skills, and of course, discipline and confidence.
If you’re having trouble passing on your love for soccer to your youngsters, there are various strategies you can use to get them more inspired to commit to activities outside of their current range of interests – the ones that will keep them physically as well as mentally active!
Turn it into family fun
Kids are curious, but their attention is fleeting. In one moment, they are deeply immersed into an activity only to forget it the second something completely different comes along. However, they thrive on your parental bond and the things they do commit to are usually related to the things they do with you when they are young.
Fill the trunk of your car with tennis rackets, balls, hula-hoops, frisbees, helmets, you name it. Get bicycles for the whole family, and take a Sunday ride through the park, only to wrap it up with a tennis match on the grass. Go hiking over the weekends, take them swimming to the pool or a lake; just make sure you build up the hype around it – and leave the tech at home.
Diversify your options
If all your kids know is basketball or ballet, then it’s no wonder they’d rather stay home and watch cartoons. Children need options; they need to be able to try different activities before they make up their mind (if they ever do, and that’s okay as well), and to do so without you insisting on one activity only.
What about a different dance class? Martial arts are fun, but maybe they’d prefer to take up gymnastics, ice-skating, or water polo. Give them a chance to explore their options, and not settle for the one you like the most.
Make your home a fit zone
Diversity means turning your home into an environment that inspires not just sitting on a couch and munching on snacks but being physically active! If there are TVs in every home, why not introduce treadmills into every home as well to show the kids that they can, and should, use it when the weather is bleak or they simply feel like it?
If your home is one huge lazy bag, they will not be all that motivated to get off the couch. Introduce other gear such as yoga mats, foam rollers, and similar items to turn it into yet another family ritual. They want to watch TV? They should use the treadmill for half an hour and do some stretches!
Be their role model
The treadmill, the yoga mat, and the trunk-load of toys is not reserved for the kids only. In fact, it mustn’t be, because you’d be sending the wrong message. Be the person you want your children to aspire to become. Be their living, breathing role model, the person they’re proud of for their achievements, and earn that reputation by committing to training yourself.
Show them how you exercise, demonstrate and explain why you love working out, tell them all about the different ways they can improve; feel awesome, grow stronger, and have tons of fun with it. Perspective is vital as your kids grow, so be their point of reference for healthy living.
Structure is essential
Exercise is like hygiene – it takes some time to master and find your rhythm, but when you do, it turns into a habit. In fact, exercise is hygiene, as it involves taking care of your health inside and out. Do your kids brush their teeth before bedtime and make their beds in the morning? That’s a good example of how they embrace good habits based on the model you build in your home.
The same model should include regular physical activity. As curious little creatures, kids will quickly adapt if you give them a chance. Make exercise in a range of forms a daily habit, and they’ll likely let it become an inextricable part of their life