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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

How to Help When Your Child Hates PE continued...

Older kids: DON'T let them opt out of phys ed. Many schools allow students to substitute activities such as band or chorus in place of PE. But this sets a poor example, and the health benefits of being physically active are irreplaceable.

Every age: DO let your child know why physical activity is good for them right now: It can help them look, feel, and sleep better. Try to help them see the fun of it and not get caught up in the competitive aspects of PE activities.

Every age: DO be an advocate for kids' PE. Get involved in school committees and fund-raising events to help support physical education in your child's school. You can also advocate for innovative PE activities, such as skateboarding or in-line skating, if your school's program focuses on more traditional competitive games that turn off your child and others.

Kids and PE: Listen to Your Child's Concerns

In one study, 24 adults were asked to recall their memories of childhood phys ed. Many fondly remembered good experiences with PE teachers and coaches whose approach was caring, involved, and fair. But others described how an unfair or insensitive PE teacher or coach made them dislike physical activity for years.

It's not always teachers who foster bad memories. Another study asked 134 kids if they had experienced bullying in PE class. About 18% had been bullied physically, more than 23% had been bullied verbally, and about 20% had been bullied socially. Those who were bullied often didn't plan to take PE in the future.

Talk to your child about his concerns about gym class because they can have a lasting effect. If you think there's a serious problem, talk with the teacher or principal.


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