Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How do you keep your kids from being couch potatoes?

Posted by on Jun. 28, 2011 at 11:51 AM
  • 8 Replies

How do you keep your kids from being couch potatoes?

A No-Sweat Guide to Getting Your Kid to Exercise

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans
on Jun 28, 2011

girl rock climbing

It's difficult enough to motivate ourselves to get the exercise we know we need to be healthy and strong, but when it comes to getting our children moving, the battle can be even greater. Summer can prove especially challenging without the structure of school gym classes and sports teams, and you may find yourself incessantly trying to prod and persuade your kids to get up and off the couch.

Some children naturally gravitate toward exercise and activity, while others need a little more encouragement. Sometimes mentioning the word exercise is the only way to get them running, so you have to be a bit creative in getting them to do it. Here are five ways to get your exercise-adverse child exercising without too much sweat from you:

1. Set the example. This may take a bit of sweat from you, but it's perhaps the most effective method. Let them see you exercise and enjoy it. Ask them to join you on a jog or try a yoga tape together. It will motivate you both.

2. Let them play. If video games are their thing, make them active ones. We just got an Xbox Kinect; you control all movements in the game with only your body. My son runs, jumps, kicks, and is a sweaty mess when he's done. We still limit his time playing, but he thinks he's just playing, when really he's getting a simultaneous workout.

3. Find something they love. Whether it's karate, hockey, yoga, rock climbing, or gymnastics, there's sure to be an active activity they like. Remember, all sports don't happen on fields and courts. It may take some exploring and trial and error, but once they find something they enjoy, they'll stop making any excuses to exercise.

4. Build it into family activities. If you're going to the beach, bring a Frisbee and ball along with the sand toys. If you're headed to a family picnic, load up the basket on your bicycles and ride there. In most anything you do, there's a way to build in some extra activity.

5. Make it mandatory. While you want to make it fun, you can also make exercise as non-negotiable as brushing their teeth or eating their vegetables. Children need to know that exercise is just as important to their health as these things.

How do you encourage your children to exercise?

by on Jun. 28, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-8):
by Bronze Member on Jun. 28, 2011 at 8:34 PM
I try to plan active art activities for my son. Like painting with feet or something fun. If he's not into that i try to have him help me with dinner before paying video games or watching tv. Just trying to keep a good mix of activities.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Shauna on Jul. 1, 2011 at 8:38 AM

My teen has really been into Yoga lately. She does it everyday.

My sons are 9 and 6 and spend lots of time outside playing if not at our house we go to the park, pool or take a walk for a change of scenery. If it's raining we try to find stuff to do inside like play the wii, a board game or read.

by on Jul. 1, 2011 at 8:50 AM

My kids love to be outside. So as long as I take them outside they are active :O)

by Angie on Jul. 1, 2011 at 11:28 AM

None of my kids are couch potatoes, in-fact I can't keep them in the house even if it is 95 degrees.

by Jenna on Jul. 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM

 My kids are always on the move! They do like to sit and watch tv sometimes.. but usually they are playing and the tv grabs their attention for a few minutes then it's back to playing! They love being outside and being active!

by ~B~ on Jul. 1, 2011 at 1:24 PM

We spend most of our time outside.

by on Jul. 1, 2011 at 8:52 PM
Send them outside!!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Jul. 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM 


So what are we doing that's making time fly? I thought I'd put down a list of things that we do or plan to do, so that you guys might get ideas out of it. 

* Gardening - If you don't have a garden, get some pots and some soil. Even a large plastic tub in which you can drill holes will do. Grow something. Growing veggies can be fun - harvesting and cooking the produce can be very exciting for the children. Try menthya/methi/fenugreek. It grows quickly. Try coriander too.


* Cooking - Make some snacks together. If it doesn't involve cutting and cooking, get the child to do it all himself. It's great for the child to realize that food just doesn't appear from thin air. Involve him in your daily cooking too - show him what's happening when you do that and this. But be very careful in the kitchen. Draw an imaginary line that he shouldn't cross when the stove is on.

* Clay modeling - Use playdoh, or else, just mix a nice and malleable ball of maida and water. It is much more easy to handle. Give him shapes to cut out, a roller to roll it out... After play, just store it in the fridge. Ten seconds in the microwave before play the next day is enough to restore the softness. After about 3-4 days, you can throw it away and make a fresh ball. There are ways to make homemade playdoh - check online - you can add food colour to get different colors too.

* Water tub - Get a large tub, put some water and toys in it and put the child in it. Add bubbles... and hours of F~U~N

* Art and Craft - In our home, this has turned out to be the single-largest time-consumer during the day. Starting from shopping for materials, organizing, looking up books/internet/brain for ideas (local library), then actually making stuff, then cleaning up, to showing it off to people - it takes SO much time. And it's a whole lot of fun.

* Storytelling - Tell Stories and ask the child to tell stories. It is very difficult to listen constantly to a child's usually non-stop nonsense, so if you are listening with only one ear, it is fine. But if you do listen, you are in for good laughs. One more thing, a child's stories sometime reveal their feelings, things that they haven't expressed to you directly.

* Story Reading - Read stories with your child. Sit next to him, cuddle, and read a book together. Read out, translate in your mother tongue, or ask the child to read out some words - whatever. Let it be interactive. Ask questions, let the child interrupt if he wants to ask questions. Look at the illustrations - these can be a great source of discussions too! This time can be beautiful.

* Playacting - act out the stories you know - dramatize it. After the initial hesitation and shyness (yours, definitely not the child's) I assure you it's a lot of fun. Improvise, act like a clown, and see if your child isn't rolling around laughing. You don't even need props or costumes or many people (but they do ad to the fun). Puttachi

* Puzzles - Get all kinds of puzzles, jigsaws and otherwise, and make it with the child. Simple ones he can solve himself. The ones that are just beyond his reach - sit with him, explain while he does it himself. It's wonderful to watch the child getting the hang of it.

* Helping with chores - Get him to help with your work. Folding laundry, cleaning up, etc. Take him shopping, ask him what vegetables he would like, buy them, show him how to select vegetables - get him involved. We personally have a "Chore Board", which has manners, super helper, picking up toys, and things age appropriate.

* Park - It helps tremendously if you have a good park close by, with children's play equipment, where you can take the child most evenings. Evenings can make a child restless, and exercise and fresh air is always good. Push him gently to try more difficult monkey-ladders, higher slides, but the moment he shows fear, just withdraw, don't force. He will lead the way when he is ready. And going to the same park regularly helps - you make friends - and the child is more enthu to go the park to meet friends, and you can have some adult conversation with the friends' parents! We try and hit a different park each time so our children do not get bored, and because they have strong social skills, they get different kids each time!


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN