Get Them Moving!

by Laurie Tarkan

Get Them Moving!

Does your child spend way too much time sitting around the house? Besides limiting screen time (TV, computer, and video games), here are some ideas to get her moving:

Walk and talk

Start a family tradition: Take an after-dinner stroll and share stories about everyone’s day, says Stacey Cook, executive director of Project Fit America, a nonprofit organization in Novato, CA.

Recruit her friends

Find out which teams or classes her buddies have joined, then see if she’d like to sign up too. Or enlist a friend to enroll in, say, karate lessons.

Get fit together

Strap on some in-line skates or take your child on a hike. Even if you’ve got just 15 extra minutes to kick a Hacky Sack, dance to a favorite CD, or run through the sprinkler, you’ll both get in shape while having some fun together.

Turn her into an instructor

Ask her to teach a younger sibling or neighbor how to skateboard or do a handstand.

Practice those fundamentals

Take time to work on basic skills, such as shooting from the foul line. When she feels more confident in her abilities, she’ll be more likely to want to play.

Encourage an individual sport

The problem with group games like baseball and badminton: You need someone to play with you. So see if you can get your youngster interested in, say, Frisbee golf or jumping rope, which she can easily practice on her own in your yard or in a nearby park.

Invent challenges

She might not like just running around the block or pedaling to nowhere, but if you add games and goals, those activities become much more appealing. Play follow-the-leader on your bikes; dare her to do 20 sit-ups (and 25 the next week); see how many times you’re able to volley the tennis ball back and forth.

Try something offbeat

If your child’s not a big fan of such sports as soccer or golf, she could just go crazy for kickboxing or kayaking. Many local gyms and YMCAs offer one-day passes and introductory classes. Once she finds the activity that’s right for her, she may get hooked for a lifetime.