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The Weight Loss Centre

Kid's Activity Key to Losing Weight

kids playingNearly all of us have experienced a child who is attached to the computer like some form of life support.  Actually, for a teenager, the social networking available through the internet is their minds actually IS their lifeline.  Try taking that away and you will soon see a teenager become active....thrashing their arms about in frustration (perhaps a reflex reaction from being extracted from a keyboard) and complaining loudly.  My daughter tells me this is called a "squid attack"....designed to throw a parent off-guard and change their mind.

When I was a child my mother would say "turn off the TV and go out a play".  And, we did.  Today, living in Sydney it hasn't always been safe to send my daughter outside to play.  Roads, strangers, two working parents and long commutes for all of us has meant there has been little time for activity for my daughter.

So how do we get our kids active to help them avoid weight gain and unwanted health complications from sitting at the computer forever?  Quite frankly, it starts with us as parents making an effort to make activity an important part of the family routine.

Here are some ways to help encourage your child to be active and get moving every day.

1. Set a good example.

(And yes, I can hear you groaning!) If your children see that you are physically active and have fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives. Take the dog for a regular walk, get on a bike, play cricket in the backyard. (We deliberately bought a beagle dog so that we HAD to take him for walks...and after 7 years, we still enjoy those walks.)

2. Your child needs your encouragement.

Encourage your child to join a sports team or class, such as soccer, dance, basketball, or gymnastics at school or at your local community or recreation centre.

3. Be sensitive to your child's needs.

If your child feels uncomfortable participating in activities like sports, help him or her find physical activities that are fun and not embarrassing.  Unfortunately some kids won't go and play with others because they haven't developed the skills required of kicking, throwing and running to feel good in games.  If this is the case, it will take some further encouragement from your part and coaching to assist your child develop confidence in this area. Children who are forced to participate in sports they don't like often develop a lifelong negative attitude to physical activity for the rest of their life.

4. Be active together as a family.

Assign active chores such as making the beds, washing the car, or vacuuming. Plan active outings such as a trip to the zoo, picnics or a walk through a local park.  When it comes to chores and you have a reluctant child, make it a family affair where everyone pitches in at the same time for the same length of time.  That way there is a clear start and finish and no lone gets to sit out.

5. Build activity into everyday activities and reinforce with positive messages.

  • ‘It’s time to play outside now.’

  • ‘Rex needs some practice fetching. It would be great if you would go outside and throw the ball for him.'

  • ‘Let’s walk to the shop to get the things we need for dinner.'

  • ‘Wow, you have been jumping on the trampoline for ages.’

  • ‘Keep going, your sandcastle is getting so big.’

  • ‘You did a fantastic job pulling the weeds out of the garden. It’s great when you help.’

  • ‘You rode a really long way today on your bike, well done.’

Language is important...you get the idea!


6. Keep it fun!

Because his or her body is not ready yet, do not encourage your pre-adolescent child to participate in adult-style physical activity such as long jogs, using an exercise bike or treadmill, or lifting heavy weights. FUN physical activities are best for kids.

Weight Loss Health Editorial Team

Resources: Raising Children Network; National Institutes for Health





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