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How to Encourage Kids to Be Active

How to Encourage Kids to Be Active

Encouraging kids to be active is crucial for their physical, mental, and emotional development. Regular physical activity helps build strong bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular health, enhances mood and energy levels, and promotes better sleep. Here are some strategies to motivate your children to stay active and develop a lifelong love for physical activity.

1. Lead by Example

Be an Active Role Model

  • Active Lifestyle: Demonstrate an active lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity yourself.
  • Family Activities: Plan active family outings, such as hiking, biking, or playing sports together.

Show Enthusiasm

  • Positive Attitude: Show enthusiasm for physical activities and make them fun.
  • Encouragement: Encourage your child to join you in various activities and praise their efforts.

2. Make Physical Activity Fun

Choose Enjoyable Activities

  • Variety: Offer a variety of activities to find out what your child enjoys the most.
  • Games and Sports: Incorporate games and sports that are fun and engaging.

Playful Environment

  • Outdoor Play: Encourage outdoor play in parks, playgrounds, and open spaces.
  • Interactive Toys: Provide toys that promote physical activity, such as balls, jump ropes, and hula hoops.

3. Set Realistic Goals and Challenges

Small Achievable Goals

  • Incremental Steps: Set small, achievable goals to build confidence and motivation.
  • Celebrations: Celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small, to reinforce positive behavior.

Friendly Competitions

  • Challenges: Create friendly competitions or challenges to make physical activity more exciting.
  • Rewards: Offer simple rewards, like stickers or extra playtime, for achieving goals.

4. Establish a Routine

Consistent Schedule

  • Regular Exercise Time: Establish a regular time for physical activity each day, such as after school or before dinner.
  • Daily Routine: Incorporate physical activity into your child’s daily routine to make it a habit.


  • Adapt to Changes: Be flexible and adjust the schedule as needed to keep it enjoyable and stress-free.
  • Seasonal Activities: Adapt activities to the seasons, like swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

5. Limit Screen Time

Balanced Screen Time

  • Set Limits: Set limits on screen time, including TV, video games, and computers.
  • Active Alternatives: Encourage active alternatives to screen time, such as playing outside or joining a sports team.

Interactive Screen Activities

  • Active Video Games: Introduce interactive video games that require physical movement, like dancing or sports games.
  • Educational Apps: Use educational apps that promote physical activity and learning.

6. Encourage Social Interaction

Group Activities

  • Team Sports: Encourage participation in team sports, such as soccer, basketball, or volleyball.
  • Community Programs: Enroll your child in community programs or classes that promote physical activity.


  • Active Playdates: Organize playdates with friends that involve active play, like going to the park or playing tag.
  • Group Games: Encourage group games that require physical movement and cooperation.

7. Create a Safe Environment

Safety First

  • Supervision: Ensure proper supervision during physical activities, especially for younger children.
  • Protective Gear: Provide appropriate protective gear, like helmets and pads, for sports and biking.

Safe Play Areas

  • Safe Equipment: Ensure that play equipment is safe and well-maintained.
  • Check Environment: Regularly check play areas for potential hazards.

8. Educate About the Benefits of Physical Activity

Health Education

  • Teach Benefits: Educate your child about the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise.
  • Positive Effects: Discuss how physical activity can improve mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.

Role of Exercise

  • Explain Role: Explain the role of exercise in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Incorporate Learning: Use books, videos, and educational games to teach about the importance of staying active.

9. Involve Kids in Planning

Choice and Autonomy

  • Let Them Choose: Involve your child in choosing activities they enjoy and are interested in.
  • Plan Together: Plan activities together as a family to ensure everyone is excited and engaged.

Set Personal Goals

  • Personal Goals: Help your child set personal fitness goals that are achievable and motivating.
  • Progress Tracking: Track progress together and celebrate milestones.

10. Make It a Family Affair

Family Challenges

  • Family Fitness Challenges: Create family fitness challenges to encourage everyone to participate.
  • Family Outings: Plan regular family outings that involve physical activities, such as hiking, biking, or swimming.

Daily Activities

  • Active Lifestyle: Incorporate physical activity into daily life, like walking or biking to school, taking the stairs, and doing household chores together.
  • Active Breaks: Take active breaks during long periods of sitting, such as during homework or screen time.


Encouraging kids to be active involves making physical activity enjoyable, setting realistic goals, and being a positive role model. By creating a supportive environment, limiting screen time, involving them in planning, and making it a family affair, you can help your child develop a lifelong love for physical activity. Remember, the goal is to make being active a natural and fun part of everyday life.

Moms’ Guide to Mindful Parenting

Importance of Family Routines