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Many children are not tempted at the idea of riding a bicycle, playing football at the local park or adopting another fitness program as joining a team of basketball. Shyness apart, there can be many other disincentives to starting a fitness activity with children. But your aim should always be to overcome anything which acts as an incumbent.
Fitness Activity Significance
Experts advice that to maintain a basic level of health, children and young people (between 5-18 years) should do about an hour of physical activity each day. It should be a combination of moderate-intensity (aerobic) activity and vigorous-intensity (aerobic) activity. Fast walking is a moderate activity and running is an intense one. Besides, they should essentially not sit for extended time sitting (like watching television or playing computer games). Overweight children may need increased physical activity to control their weight.
With children getting smarter, motivating them for adopting a fitness activity may not be that easy. With lots to gain from regular physical activities, such as healthy body, improved concentration and confidence, you cannot afford to lose the bout so easily. Consider the following things to enable your child adopt an appropriate fitness activity according to suitability.
Choose an age-appropriate Activity
Children should follow an age appropriate fitness program to gain optimally, both in terms of health and enjoyment. The smaller children, like preschoolers, can concentrate on play (and exercise) which promote development of motor skills. These skills can be acquired through kicking, throwing a ball, hopping on one foot, dancing, running obstacles, etc. You can also find sports leagues open to young children; but young children can manage even without indulging in one of this kind. Nurturing fundamental skills is important at this age.
As children advance to school-age, they tend to spend less time on sedentary activities like watching television or playing computer games. This can be the right time to engage children in a range of activities like basketball, biking and playing outside. When children learn the basic skills, they can begin with the more athletic ones.
With growing years, children advance to teenage when choices increase but the time they devote to sports and fitness activities may decrease owing to their diversified needs in living. They can easily feel bored or detached to a program which does not suit their interests. It is a good idea to attach them to an activity of their interest.
Make Fitness Activity Attractive
If your child does not like what he/she does, he/she can dissociate with it too soon. Try to make the activity exciting and attractive. The right clothes, gear and company can often be a motivation to implement an activity. Choose an activity your child enjoys (or can enjoy). Watch his taste and go in accordance with his/her talent.
Acknowledge the effort even when your child does not perform well. This will serve as a motivation to pursue an activity your child likes. It is an important factor for showcasing the latent talent in your child.
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Prepare and Involve Your Child
Children may fear competition and resist joining an activity. You can prepare your child in advance by making him/her aware of the benefits of being fit, giving real life examples and keeping the company of like-minded people.
Generally, children do not show interest in physical activities until about age 6 or 7. You should also give sufficient time to your child for adjusting and adopting a change in his/her lifestyle. The thought of failing can also frustrate children or make them nervous. Involve yourself in practicing to give your child opportunities to build skills, share limitations and spend quality time together.
Explore the Specific Needs of Your Child
Children with specific needs, like asthma, can find it difficult to indulge in too active programs. They can restrict to the comparatively less intense activities according to their requirements and tastes.
Some children may not be high on energy levels and may not be able to cope with the aggressive types of activities (like football). Such children can be encouraged to adopt a relatively lesser intensity activity (like badminton). Without compromising on the fitness aspect, you can provide ample opportunities for enhancing health.
Aim for Realistic Goals
Assessing your child’s strengths and abilities, choose a matching fitness activity so that you need not switch from one program to another too often. If your child is afraid of joining a team, group sports may not be appropriate now. If your child loves gymnastics, do not concentrate on the future prospects of being a gymnast because he/she is not targeting at a career in the arena. Fitness activity should remain fun-filled and enjoyable, providing minimal opportunities for quitting the same.
Different children adapt differently, which makes them unique. Give sufficient time to your child for showcasing his/her skills.