Active Parents Have the Most Active Children – TRUTH!
You can hardly spend a minute in the media these days without hearing about childhood obesity, excessive screen time, and social isolation. If you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you might want to encourage your kids to be more physically active, but how do you get started? We’re here to help.
Cat Kom is the founder of Studio SWEAT onDemand. She’s got children that are now young adults, and they’re all very physically active. She’s joined by Studio SWEAT Trainer, Yael. Yael is a parental coach, and she is also a mom of six kids, aged 17-24. She said, “They weren’t always active growing up, but as young adults have all picked up active lifestyles.” Cat and Yael are here to share benefits to being physically active as a kid, as well as some amazing tips to get them moving without creating conflict with you and your kids.
Benefits to being active as a kid:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Less anxiety
- Better energy levels
- Improved social skills
- Proven to increase attention, memory, and focus
- People who start an active lifestyle as a kid are more likely to continue it as adults
Tips for encouraging activity in children:
- Be a role model. This is a big one.
- There is a direct correlation between the parents’ level of activity and their children’s. Both as kids, and as adults.
- In fact, Cat saw a study saying that kids are 60% more likely to be active adults if they had active parents.
- Depends on age. Look for age-appropriate ways to engage your child in activity. Examples include:
- Play duck, duck, goose with a little one.
- With an elementary school child, try a recreational sport.
- With a tween or teen, check out classes at a local gym, park, or community center.
- Incentivize. When Yael’s kids were young, she’d take them on walks throughout the neighborhood, carrying a bag of marshmallows. She’d hand them out now and then on the walk.
- Set goals. Make them attainable, and include your child in the goal-setting.
- Praise. Give credit to them for something they’re already doing, not just projecting forward what you hope they’ll do. Example: if they take the dog for a short walk, recognize that effort.
- Positivity. Stay in the positive, not the negative. You’ll lose their attention and interest when you flip to their “don’ts and didn’ts.” Cat suggests you “praise not push.”
- What do they enjoy? Everyone has different interests. Your kiddo might not enjoy the same types of activities as you do. Their engagement may not happen the way you want.
- Invite them. But don’t be upset if they don’t want to join you (this is big, especially with tweens and teens). Support them with their own choice.
- Participation over competition. Present non-competitive options. Not every child wants to join a team and keep a score, but they can still be active. Try solo sports, or activities like hiking that can be “you versus you.” And even highly competitive kids may enjoy a solo activity. Try giving your star soccer player access to some yoga classes, and see how they thrive.
Breaking down potential roadblocks:
- Remember you are on your child’s side. It’s not about your “agenda.”
- Think about how you can make this easier for your child.
- Ask “what can I do to support you?”
- There’s a big difference between motivating a 5 year old, a middle schooler, and a high schooler.
- Youngsters: Expose them to a variety of activities. Try a simple reward system. Minimize screen time.
- Middle Schoolers: Give them something trackable. Eg. Miles, time, steps.
- Olders: Be the role model. Sometimes you just have to wait it out.
- Patience. Patience. Patience.
Hope this helps support you as you support your children. Ready to get them moving? We’re known as the best fitness app for variety and have got a big library of classes to sample, including great options for youth. Check out a Free Trial over on Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.