Sports aren’t for everyone. If you have a kid who’s averse to competition or active sports, that doesn’t mean she’s doomed to be a couch potato. With a little creativity, fitness for kids who hate sports is within every family’s reach.
Attempting to pry a video game controller from a kid’s hand can be particularly frustrating for parents who grew up enjoying sports and organized recreation activities. The first step in helping your child embrace fitness is to expand your idea of what exercise can be. Think past the playing field, and embrace any activity that encourages children to be active. Other strategies to help instill a love of fitness in your child include:
Limit screen time
A couch potato without a television to watch or games to play is much more likely to seek entertainment elsewhere.
Give Kids Choices
Let your child choose his activity. Some kids may find a love of dancing, while others gravitate toward hiking. Even some cardio-intensive Wii games raise heart rates. Any activity that gets your child moving is a great one to promote fitness.
Establish a Routine
Set aside time each day for active play. Children who stick to a schedule are more likely to continue to stay active.
Some kids shy away from the competitive nature of organized sports. That’s OK. Let them explore non-competitive activities like dance, or help them find an entry-level league that focuses more on fun and skill development than racking up victories.
Children love enjoying activities with their parents. Get your own exercise while you spend time having fun with your kids. Literally everyone wins in this situation.
Sometimes kids are hesitant to participate in organized sports because they feel they may not have the equivalent skills of many of their peers. Talk with your child, and if it’s the case, support her as she builds her athletic skills. You don’t have to be a coach to provide feedback and encouragement to build basic skills with your child.