, Newburyport, MA

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April 25, 2014

Living Fit: Get your kids to explore the great outdoors


Keep them going

Often, kids become less active in the 10-14 age range. Even though your child may feign disinterest, they are not missing a beat. If you taking part in your own outdoor physical activity, your kids will certainly take notice. I often encourage my clients to bring their children in with them when they train with me. This is a wonderful bonding time, and it also sends a powerful message that you care about your own physical health and want them to be a part of this experience.

Take out the chore list

You may be surprised to find that your children actually enjoy activities that we have grown to dread as adults, like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, watering the garden or washing the car. How about having them offer to do an outside chore for a neighbor in need? This is a great way for your child to feel a sense of accomplishment in being a part of the greater good.

Pick exercises they enjoy

Talk to your kids about things they would like to try, and make a list and post it on the refrigerator as a reminder. Remember that the ticket is to find activities that celebrate your kids’ joy of movement, in whatever form. When my boys were small, I would order loam for the yard and they would spend hours digging and helping me spread the dirt in my ever-growing garden. This turned out to be an annual event. Make a list, and watch your child’s eyes light up with excitement and anticipation!

Reserve time for play

In our activity-filled schedule, leave some down time for the kids. As great as it is for the children to participate in soccer, baseball, gymnastics, etc., it is equally important to allow them to self-direct their own play. In this day and age, we have programmed our kids to look to an adult for guidance and structure. At first, don’t be surprised if your kids are looking to you for their next plan. As in, “Where are we going now?” Clear the calendar, and watch your child’s imagination soar.

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