Coaching

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

By Nike Training

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

Here are three ways you can gear up your kids for a lifetime of fitness.

You love working out and you want your kids to love it, too. By giving your kids the encouragement, inspiration and instructions they need, you can help them begin to build a lifelong habit of daily movement. Here are three approaches that help get you on the right track.

If you and your kids have been enjoying physical activity together, whether that means kicking the football around your back garden or getting after the light-hearted workouts in our Fitness Adventure with Brian and Bella Nunez programme, you're ahead of the game. Technology (TVs, computers, tablets) tends to keep kids on the bench, so any extended movement is a win for all of you.

While you and your kids might be having fun with it, if you want movement to become a lifelong habit, it's never too early to think about the bigger picture and longer term. "The experiences you have as a kid can either make you love exercise or hate it, potentially forever", says Nike Master Trainer Brian Nunez. "As a parent, you want to create as many positive experiences for your kids as you can when they're young, before PE class, sport and competitions—and life in general—get more serious".

Disguising exercise as a form of play is one way to do that, but you might need to dig deeper to lay the groundwork for their healthy, lifelong relationship with activity. Here's how.

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

01. Lead by example.

Your kids might not always act like they hear you, but they're always listening. "Every time you talk about activity, even if it's just about your own training, is an opportunity for your kids to either feel enthusiastic about or turned off by fitness", says Diana Cutaia, the founder of Coaching Peace Consulting, who works with Nike's Social and Community Impact team.

Whenever you're gearing up for or coming back from a workout, use language that paints physical activity in upbeat terms, says Cutaia. For example, instead of saying things like, "Mummy needs to work out today" or "Daddy is exhausted from his run", try, "Mummy can't wait to work out today" or "Daddy's muscles worked so hard, isn't he strong?" The more your kids see you pursue activity and also hear how much you enjoy it, the more they'll associate movement with good vibes, agrees Nunez.

02. Set them up for success.

With nothing but good intentions, parents sometimes put too much focus on motivating their kids to move at the expense of teaching them how to do so, says Cutaia. "Of course, you want to encourage them throughout an activity, but first you have to instruct them so that they can actually do what you're asking of them", she says. Without that sense of competency, you risk them getting frustrated and potentially giving up.

Your encouraging words will go a lot further when your kids are feeling confident enough to actually hear them.

Next time you're walking them through an active game or workout, take a few minutes to explain and demonstrate what you'd like them to do, says Cutaia. You can even ask them to mimic you, or have them imitate an animal that they can picture holding the position or doing the movement you're describing, adds Nunez. Either way, make sure they understand the exercise to the best of their abilities before you channel cheerleader mode. Your encouraging words will go a lot further when your kids are feeling confident enough to actually hear them.

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

03. Reward the process, not the outcome.

Hopefully by now you've learnt that focusing on progress over perfection and celebrating small victories within your own training is what can keep you coming back for more. Your kids are no different when it comes to activity. They want the gold star, but Cutaia says it's up to you to offer it at the most supportive time: when they're putting in the effort.

Say things like, "I see you getting so much better at those push-ups. They're tough, but you're tougher".

Let's say your kid is struggling with a modified push-up. Rather than let them decide that they can't do it, ask them to lower their body to the ground, then stop. Tell them, "Look, you did the first half of a push-up!" Next time, have them try the second half, then eventually both together, applauding their improvements along the way, says Cutaia. You might even start a progress journal with them in which they record their feats week to week. "It's so important to acknowledge the energy they're applying and make them feel good about it", she explains. Say things like, "I'm so proud of you for showing up today" or "I see you getting so much better at those push-ups. They're tough, but you're tougher".

At the end of the day, the same things that made you fall for fitness will help your kids do so too. Give them the right tools—the inspiration, the instructions, the acknowledgement—and they're that much closer to their own forever love.

Let's say your kid is struggling with a modified push-up. Rather than let them decide that they can't do it, ask them to lower their body to the ground, then stop. Tell them, "Look, you did the first half of a push-up!" Next time, have them try the second half, then eventually both together, applauding their improvements along the way, says Cutaia. You might even start a progress journal with them in which they record their feats week to week. "It's so important to acknowledge the energy they're applying and make them feel good about it", she explains. Say things like, "I'm so proud of you for showing up today" or "I see you getting so much better at those push-ups. They're tough, but you're tougher".

At the end of the day, the same things that made you fall for fitness will help your kids do so too. Give them the right tools—the inspiration, the instructions, the acknowledgement—and they're that much closer to their own forever love.

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

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Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

Join Nike Training Club

Get access to our world-class experts and trainers for help staying active and healthy.

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