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How To Get Your Kids Active!

by Orion Clachar on July 21, 2013

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As you walk by your son’s room you hear the explosions and bangs of his video games along with the tell-tale crunch of potato chips. The same sounds you always hear.

“I need to get this kid active,” you think.

As a parent you may feel caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of your child’s activity. Do you let your kid grow up to become lazy and struggling with their weight? Or do you get them up and get them moving but risk their resentment?

Well let me tell you . . .

As a 13-year-old boy I will sometimes grumble or resist when my parents take me on a bike ride or tell me to get up and do some chores. I think, “Why can’t they leave me and my video games alone?!”

But eventually I get up and go. And guess what? I had more fun then I had on my games. Exercising is a great way for you and your children to bond. There is something about the work that brings you together.

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Children’s inactivity has only recently become an epidemic in this nation. A few generations ago children had no choice but to be active because they had to work around the farm. Unlike most of my friends, at home I have to lug two five gallon buckets filled with water to the pigs. Or push a wheel barrow full of dung to the compost. After doing this kind of stuff for seven years, it gives me an advantage over all of my peers. Now, kids don’t have as much responsibility. Most don’t have farms, let alone chores like cleaning the house.

Even worse, kids don’t even have to move to entertain themselves. All they need is a two hundred dollar gadget and voila! hours of digitalized fun.

But you are the parent, you have the power. Take control and stop your children from becoming the mindless zombies of my generation- slaves to their smart phones.

Get Little Kids Going

Young children are always the best place to start. They are filled with pent up energy. And activity is a great way to release it. Also they don’t feel the same pressure to be “cool” from their peers. Since activity can start at any age, your child might be too small to shoot a basketball or catch a Hail Mary. But be creative. Even the littlest thing like hiding from your child in different places or having them chase you around can keep them occupied for hours. (My mom and older can testify to this from when I was little!)

Here are some good ideas for activities that little kids can enjoy:

Getting Tweens Active

If your child is a tween then now is also a good time to start. Lots of the things you will do with them at this age will stick with them for the rest of their life.

Believe it or not your child wants to spend time with you.

It’s just that in their struggle to fit in they think that hanging with their parents will make them look not cool.

But use this this peer pressure to your advantage. Boys want to look leaner and more muscled and girls want to be more fit. Being seen at the gym working out or jogging with you is considered acceptable in the middle school drama. In addition, truth be told, your children want a break from all that peer pressure stress. Exercising with you is a great way to relieve it.

Getting Teens Moving

Teens are the most difficult to deal with. I would know since I am one.

At this stage we’re too head strong and feel like adults. We think we don’t need to listen to our parents. One of the hardest things is to get us outside and off our tech.

This is difficult but remember you are the parent, take control and get us out. Though we may be older now we still live under your roof and you can punish us if we don’t listen.

We may get angry, may even say we hate you.

But you have to remember that we don’t and that you are saving us from a world of pain.

A good way to get in activity with us is through sports. If we are passionate for a specific sport go out, shoot the basketball, throw the football, kick the soccer ball, or pass the baseball.

Even if your teen is better than you at the sport don’t be deterred. Watch as a smile spreads across their face as you try something. And see how animated they become as they coach you on the finer points. It always cracks me up when I see my mom trying to juggle the soccer ball. But she can still play a mean defense that helps me practice my fakes.

Here are some fun activities for ‘tweens and ‘teens:

No Matter What Get Active Together

So find any way to get out with your child and get active. Your kids love you and want to spend time with you, you just need to give them away that won’t make them feel self conscious. And watch as your kid starts getting you more active. I hope this article helps you in your quest to having a Fit Family Together!

Do you have some insights on one or more of these stages to share? Come comment below!

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  • Beatrice

    This was a great article :-) . You hit the nail on the head… As parents we have to choose between a child being “lazy” or risk being resented.
    It’s a choice we make daily, but I think most kids share your sentiment, they may resent being pulled away from inactivity, initially but will never regret being active with a parent.
    Thank you sooooo much for writing this. I shared it with my 6 yr old son :-)

  • Lynn

    I will use the tips in this article, especially giving my kids a laugh with my soccer skills! Having age 7 and 11 year old girls, I’ve found that another great way to get them moving is to let our puppy out on the front lawn. Some of the neighbor kids even come join the fun. It’s a gratifying feeling listening to a little pup growl and children giggle all at the same time. : ) Thank you for this post.

  • Sarah Clachar

    Beatrice, thank you for commenting. Orion was so happy to hear his article hit home and was being shared with other kids. As the mom, I’m glad to hear his perspective gave you some courage to break through the ambivalence we all feel when we get hit with grumbles. I was hoping it would.

  • Sarah Clachar

    Lynn, join the club of moms looking bad while getting good at a sport! Your puppy suggestion is a great idea! Any distraction can help. Thank you for commenting.

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