We know the benefits of raising active kids, but sometimes it is a chore just getting the kids up off the couch and away from the electronics. Add to that the fewer hours of daylight and chillier temperatures and no one wants to go outdoors. What can parents and caregivers do to motivate kids over the long winter months when it seems they would rather hibernate?
My kids are extremely active with organized sports and family events, so an hour or two of electronics on a weekend morning is not unusual, but any longer than that and I step in and within minutes they are gone. Imaginations in full gear and active play under way. How do I get my kids motivated?
5 Ways to Motivate Kids to Get Active
Right Tools for the Job
We have 2 giant bins in our garage. One is full of balls – soccer balls, basket balls, tennis balls, baseballs, badminton birdies, beach balls – you name it we have it. The other bin has roller blades, rackets, skipping ropes, sacks for jumping, horseshoes, ring toss, and hula hoops. More than enough imagination-inspiring-free-play-enticing toys in there to keep the whole street active whether there is sunshine or a fresh snowfall.
Get Out There Too
If the kids are having trouble coming up with something to do, watch their faces light up as you put on your snow pants and get outside with them. It won’t take long before the whole family is having fun.
Sit with the kids and have them tell you all their favourite games to play and write each one down on its own piece of paper. Have a list for Indoor Activities and Outdoor Activities and maybe even a summer list and a winter list. Put all the ideas into a labelled activity jar and when the kids are looking for something to do, have them pull out an activity and let their imagination take over.
Set a Time Target
You are certain to meet up with resistance if you ask the kids to run outside and play for then next 4 hours before dinner, that will seem like FOREVER to them and you will have lost the battle before it even started. Instead, asked them to go out for 15 minutes and kick a soccer ball around and I am willing to bet you don’t see them for an hour. How many times have you seen the kids totally engaged in play and time simply slips away. As they say, ‘time flies when you are having fun!’
New Family Fun
Put on your best cheerleading face and get the team motivated to try something new. Do your homework first to find new and exciting indoor family fun activities for super cold winter days and check out neighbourhood outdoor fun when the weather is good. Outdoor rinks, your favourite park covered in snow, a new hiking spot or winter geocaching can turn into a fun active afternoon. Check recreation centres and local listings for outdoor winter festivals happening near you. There are so many family adventures you probably haven’t yet tried yet that might just become new family favourites and get everyone active.