Coaching

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

By Nike Training

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move
How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

You can't just convince your kids to exercise, you have to make it fun.

Inspire your kids to move every day by doing fun activities with them that get their heart going. We've got tips for how to ask your kids questions that help them notice and understand the way moving makes them feel better.

Turning your children onto the idea that physical activity can be a fun adventure is only half of the equation to getting them moving. The other half? Ensuring that they care about the movement, so they're more inclined to do it because they want to.

Like with adults, "you can't make your kids feel anything", says Diana Cutaia, the founder of Coaching Peace Consulting, who works with Nike's Social and Community Impact team. "You can, however, give them opportunities to reflect on how they feel, so that they draw conclusions on their own".

For five consecutive days, have your child join you for a workout in our Fitness Adventure with Brian and Bella Nunez programme or another heart-pumping activity (like a game of back garden tag). Each morning after the first day, ask them a series of questions about how they're feeling, says Cutaia. Some examples: "What feels different today? Do you feel more energised? Did you sleep better? Do you want to do more activity like that?" These prompts help your child notice sensations and effects that they might not have realised on their own, without making them feel like they've been "convinced" of something.

"Adults tend to do something when the 'why' is related to science, but kids typically are more inspired when the 'why' is related to a story".

Brian Nunez, Nike Master Trainer

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

From there, you can build on your foundation. After a couple of weeks of regular movement, ask them questions like, "What does it feel like to be in your body?" or "What is your body capable of doing that you didn't think it could do?" suggests Cutaia. You'll encourage a healthy connection to their body, and their minds should naturally take over. "Let biology work for you. You don't have to force the subject", she says. "Because we are primed to move, when kids get enough activity, the fact that movement is good for them just clicks in the brain".

While it may seem like a good idea to teach your kids about all of the benefits of exercise, you might be better off not bringing up the subject of biology. "Adults tend to do something when the 'why' is related to science, but kids typically are more inspired when the 'why' is related to a story", says Nike Master Trainer Brian Nunez.

For example, instead of telling your child that squat jumps will give them strong, sturdy legs, describe how a hungry frog needs strong, fast legs to leap across a pond to catch more flies, and how practising his jumps makes him faster and faster. Or the next time they're doing a speed-based drill, such as star jumps, tell them that their favourite dancer or basketball player moves so quickly on their feet because of exercises like these.

When you frame things in terms of what they understand and care about, they're much more likely to want to move and enjoy it.

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

From there, you can build on your foundation. After a couple of weeks of regular movement, ask them questions like, "What does it feel like to be in your body?" or "What is your body capable of doing that you didn't think it could do?" suggests Cutaia. You'll encourage a healthy connection to their body, and their minds should naturally take over. "Let biology work for you. You don't have to force the subject", she says. "Because we are primed to move, when kids get enough activity, the fact that movement is good for them just clicks in the brain".

While it may seem like a good idea to teach your kids about all of the benefits of exercise, you might be better off not bringing up the subject of biology. "Adults tend to do something when the 'why' is related to science, but kids typically are more inspired when the 'why' is related to a story", says Nike Master Trainer Brian Nunez.

For example, instead of telling your child that squat jumps will give them strong, sturdy legs, describe how a hungry frog needs strong, fast legs to leap across a pond to catch more flies, and how practising his jumps makes him faster and faster. Or the next time they're doing a speed-based drill, such as star jumps, tell them that their favourite dancer or basketball player moves so quickly on their feet because of exercises like these.

When you frame things in terms of what they understand and care about, they're much more likely to want to move and enjoy it.

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers for help staying active and healthy.

How to Motivate Your Kids to Move

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers for help staying active and healthy.