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Physical Activity for Children and Teens - Tips for Helping Your Child

  • Look for ways to make exercise and fitness more fun.
    Notice whether your child enjoys a certain activity. If he or she does not, look for other activities to try. Make activities more fun, perhaps by making them part of family outings, making up games to do along your route, or inviting friends to go along.
  • Expose your children to activities they can do for a lifetime.
    Swimming, biking, and hiking are examples of activities many people enjoy until well into old age.
  • Be a good role model for your children.
    If you treat your fitness program as an unpleasant chore, your children won't see it as much fun either. On the other hand, try not to emphasize fitness so much that your children feel pressure to keep up with your expectations.
  • Try to create a home atmosphere that encourages being active.
    Children who live in a household where both parents are inactive are likely to see themselves as naturally inactive too.
  • Reduce your child's time in front of the TV and computer.
    There is a direct link between reducing these activities and increasing your child's physical activity. Remember that exercise does not have to be complicated. Just sending children out to play is healthier than having them sitting in front of the TV or computer.

Organized sports

If your child is involved in organized sports:

  • Learn about the risks of injuries for that sport (which may be different for children than for adults) and how to prevent them. Help your child prevent sport injuries. If you have concerns, talk to your child's doctor.
  • Get to know your child's coach. Make sure that the coach knows something about sports medicine for that particular sport.
  • Learn about the coach's style for getting children to learn skills and play well. You and your child should be comfortable with the coach's style and the coach's skills.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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