Sneaky ways to get your kids moving
Sneaky ways to get your kids moving

Everyone knows that with the rise of gaming consoles and mobile tablets, kids are becoming more sedentary than they've ever been. As a parent, you're not only a role model but an on-site coach to ensure your child is getting enough physical exercise. However, yelling orders from the sidelines won't always work - you may need some craftier tactics to get them to put down the controllers...

Buy video games that make them move

Games that force kids to move around in order to win are a great way to sneak in exercise. They'll raise a sweat, have fun and burn off energy. The Nintendo Wii is perfect for this with games from racing cars to tenpin bowling and boxing.

Rotate active chores

Mowing the lawn, vacuuming, taking out the rubbish - all house hold jobs count as activity. Change the 'chore board' every week so everybody gets to do something new and work different muscles.

Make family night about moving around

Ditch the movies and fast food in favour of bowling or miniature golf. Think of exercises that are fun, competitive and can involve the whole family. Bike, hike, run races or play a game of cricket. All of these will help keep them on their feet.

Have a step competition

"Something we've seen be really successful is when everybody in the family wears a pedometer and keeps track of how many steps they've taken over the course of a day," says Sarah, a mum of three. Write each person's daily score on a white board on the refrigerator. "At the end of the week, whoever wins decides the activity for the weekend." Low-end pedometers can be bought for less than $10, and as long as everyone has the same model, all should be fair.

Walk, walk, walk

Encourage kids to walk to the store, the library, their friend's house or anywhere the kids look forward to going. Walk with them. Strolling aimlessly for exercise is an adult quirk in their view, so make the destination count.

K9 companion

Consider owning a dog, or borrowing a friend's or neighbour's to walk. Owning a dog means daily walkies! Make caring for the pet - such as washing and brushing - a condition of owning a pet and your child will gain responsibility as well as companionship and daily exercise.

Pool resources

Not every family has the money or a back yard big enough for a pool, but there is likely to be a community (school) or council pool nearby you can use. Or get a slip and slide and blow up paddling pool. All the running around will burn more energy than they realise!

Be creative

Set up an obstacle course in the backyard using chairs, the swing set and the trampoline. Think up ways they can actively play rather than sit in front of the television.

Be handy

Buying a badminton or volleyball set can't hurt, but after five minutes any game you suggest can mysteriously be labelled "lame". Instead, strap on a tool belt and ask them to help you install a floodlight. Or a backyard basketball hoop. Or anything else extremely cool. They'll be your happy gofer and proud to take credit with you when the task is finished.

This content was originally written by Brian Hickey for our sister site www.kidspot.com.au in conjunction with Weight Watchers as part of Kidspot's Live Your Best Life initiative.

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