Kids Saying “No” to Exercise?

All kids go through the “no” stage. You know the phase I’m talking about. Any suggestion or question is met with a resounding “no!” and nothing seems to change their minds.

Some kids move past this phase, but occasionally pick up their old habits. Lots of kids lose their interest in exercise for a while, saying no every time you suggest a game of basketball or a little exercise.

Are your kids saying no to every exercise-related suggestion you make?

Here’s a response for every rejection your little one tries:

boy thumbs down no

When Kids Say “No” to Exercise: How to Respond

“It’s too cold to play outside.”

Set up some fun games inside. Find an open area in your house and set up an obstacle course. Depending on your kids’ ages, you can have them complete different challenges like crab walking, skipping, rolling and tumbling over and under obstacles. Scavenger hunts with exercise clues are easy and fun for kids, too. Hide clues throughout the house and add instructions to do simple exercises at each stop.

“I want to play this game!”

For kids who can’t step away from the video games, set limits. Set a time limit for the number of minutes they can play their favorite video games, or set “off-limits” time periods. During those time periods, make it clear that video and computer games aren’t allowed. Start some active games or plan some family outings that keep the kids moving.

“I don’t have anyone to play with.”

This is a real concern for kids, especially if they don’t have brothers and sisters who are free to play. Find a group activity that your kids would enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a sports team — think about karate, dance and swimming lessons. These types of classes let your kids make new friends and enjoy physical activity with a group of people.

“I’m not good at sports.”

It’s tough to be the last kid picked for games in PE class. Encourage your children to try new activities. Support their interests by making sure they join the right level of team or class.

You can also encourage children to try personal sports to help build confidence. One-on-one golf lessons or personal ice skating lessons may give kids a sense of accomplishment.

“Exercise is boring.”

The word “exercise” does sound boring, but we know how fun it really can be. Show them by having fun yourself. Take family bike rides and hikes, throw dance parties and start a pickup game of flag football. They’ll follow your lead. If you’re having fun while breaking a sweat, they’re more likely to enjoy it, too.

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