Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Kid Fitness: When Your Child Won't Exercise

    12 Tips to Get Your Couch Potato Moving

    Kid Fitness Tip #7: Use exercise as a reward.

    Forcing a child to go outside and play may backfire and increase resentment and resistance. "Exercise should never be punitive," says Small. "Don't make your child run laps or do push-ups as punishment." Instead, try using physical activity as a reward. Your child might be happy to play kickball for 20 minutes if it's a chance to take a break from homework.

    Kid Fitness Tip #8: Establish a regular routine.

    Make sure that children's fitness is plugged into the family schedule in the same way that school, work, shopping, chores, family gatherings, birthday parties, and playdates find their way onto the calendar. You and your child are more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you incorporate it into your life on a routine basis. And your child will begin to expect (and accept) that Saturday morning usually means a bike ride, and a couple of nights a week after dinner the family takes a brisk walk through the neighborhood.

    Kid Fitness Tip #9: Take a non-negotiable position.

    Is going to school, brushing teeth, or wearing a seat belt a subject of debate in your home? No, because these are all activities that promote the health, safety, and well-being of your child. Well, the same approach should apply to children's fitness, says Nixon. It's a no-brainer: Getting regular exercise is good for your mental and physical health. Stand firm from the get-go and don't let your child argue the merits of playing computer games versus playing ball games.

    Kid Fitness Tip #10: Instill the idea that exercise is in.

    Some kids really respond to the concept of doing something that's cool. Maybe your child wants to grind on a skateboard like Tony Hawke, deliver a karate kick a la Bruce Lee, learn the latest hip hop routine, or master the moves of capoeira. Older children, in particular, may have strong opinions about what's hip and what isn't. If it's safe and active and encourages your child to get in shape, then allow your kid to pick an activity that appeals to his sense of style.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Article
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    Article
     
    hand holding a cell phone
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    girl being bullied
    Article
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow