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How can parents motivate their children to exercise?

Teen Education Eric Jones 202 views 0 comments

Childhood obesity has emerged as a global public health concern. A major factor leading to the epidemic of childhood obesity is sedentary lifestyles, a lack of physical activity, and unhealthy eating habits. Playing sports and engaging in physical activities have been identified as essential steps to prevent and reduce obesity in children. However, many children tend to avoid regular physical activity, leading to a decrease in their fitness levels, and an increased risk of obesity and associated health problems. Therefore, it is crucial to find ways to encourage children to participate in sports activities and overcome their reluctance towards physical activity.

In today’s world, children are often surrounded by electronic gadgets, including smartphones, computers, TVs, and video games. These can be addictive and distract children from physical activity. Notably, comfort and convenience have taken priority, leading to more time spent indoors. Also, some children may have physical disabilities or feel insecure about their bodies, making it difficult for them to engage in sports activities. Besides, the changing educational system prioritizes academics, so children may not have enough time for physical activity.

Parents and caregivers have a critical role to play in encouraging children to participate in sports activities. Here are some ways parents can motivate children to exercise:

  1. Start Slowly

Parents should not put pressure on children to participate in activities they do not like, as this may lead to disinterest and demotivation. Instead, parents should start slowly by introducing simple games such as hide and seek or jumping jacks. Gradually, the child may develop an interest in activities.

  1. Team sports

Introducing children to team sports is an excellent way to involve them in physical activities. This also helps children develop social skills and foster team spirit. Parents can encourage children to try different sports like football, basketball, volleyball or soccer until they find an activity they enjoy.

  1. Role Model

Children are more likely to follow what their parents do. Parents can become role models by developing their fitness levels and engaging in physical activities themselves. Children can join their parents in cycling, swimming or jogging.

  1. Make it fun

Children often get bored with traditional sports activities like jogging or swimming. Parents can make physical activities more fun by including music, dance or games. Parents can also encourage children to participate in group activities like hiking, camping or nature walks.

  1. Reward effort

Children respond positively to incentives for their efforts towards a particular activity. For example, parents can reward children for participating in an activity or for completing a particular task.

  1. Keep it Consistent

Parents should ensure that children engage in physical activities consistently. They could develop a routine or schedule that includes daily physical activity.

  1. Involve friends and siblings

Children often enjoy activities more when they participate with friends and siblings. Parents can organize group activities and outings that include their children’s friends and siblings.

Content Enrichment

The importance of physical activity

Parents should understand the importance of physical activity in their children’s lives. Physical activity helps reduce the risk of obesity and associated health problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It also helps improve coordination, balance, and overall physical fitness. Additionally, regular physical activity has been linked with reduced stress levels and improved mental health.

Risks of Childhood inactivity

The risks of childhood inactivity can be significant. Notably, lack of physical activity can lead to a decrease in muscle strength, bone density, and cardiovascular fitness. This increases the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. Besides, childhood inactivity often leads to low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression, which can affect the overall well-being of the child.

Unconventional Physical Activity

Parents can introduce unconventional physical activities that interest their child. Examples of unconventional physical activities include rock climbing, gymnastics or even ballroom dancing. Parents can research and explore various non-traditional physical activities.

Building a Physical environment

Building a physical environment that encourages physical activity can also help children develop a love for physical activity. Parents can create spaces that promote outdoor activities, like parks or playgrounds. Alternatively, parents can organize family outings to the beach or nature reserves, which encourage physical activity.


Parents can use technology, such as fitness apps or sports games, to motivate children to engage in physical activity. Parents can also discourage excessive screen time and encourage children to engage with the physical world.

Childhood inactivity can lead to long-term health complications. Parents have a crucial role to play in promoting physical activity and overcoming their children’s reluctance towards exercise. It is essential to start slowly, make exercise fun, and include unconventional physical activities to cater for the many different interests of children. Making physical activity part of a routine and building a physical environment that encourages it can also help. Finally, parents must understand and communicate to their children the benefits of physical activity to encourage and motivate them towards a healthier lifestyle.

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