How to motivate your family to be active

Time constraints, interruptions, lack of motivation – it’s all too easy to come up with an excuse for why exercise is off the agenda, especially for busy parents. But when you stop thinking of treadmills, rowing machines and gym memberships as your exercise essentials and move your mind-set to footy in the park, going for a bike ride or taking in a bushwalk with the kids, then you start to enjoy the chance to get your heart pumping and your lungs working.

Both kids and adults should be active each and every day. To help get your family motivated, we have brought together some ideas to encourage the whole family to get up and move.

Turn off the screen

This an obvious one but probably the hardest habit to break – for kids and adults. Health organisations recommend that children should reduce sedentary activities like watching TV, playing on games consoles or using the computer to a total of less than two hours per day. Rather than trying to get the kids to turn the TV off, you may have more success by having them not switch it on in the first place! If the kids have a tendency to flick on the TV as soon as they walk in from school, change the routine and break the habit. Stop at the park on the way home from school, go for a bike ride or head to the local pool or beach for some active fun and you’ll find that TV and video games don’t even get missed.

Join in

As much as we always pretended that our parents were ‘lame as’ when around our friends, we will freely admit now that it was the time spent playing with our parents that are some of the best memories from our childhood. Kids love having their parents join in with their play. Go throw a frisbee, go on a bike ride with them or play some backyard cricket. It’s not only great for them – it’s good for you too!

Think outside the box

When was the last time you played a party game when there’s no party? Musical chairs, treasure hunts and silly balloon games are just as much fun with only a few kids (and even more fun with parents thrown in too!). Set up an obstacle course in your back yard, have a trampoline challenge or train the dog – think of new ways to enjoy being active with your kids.

The basics

You don’t need expensive sports equipment to have fun. Kids are notorious for getting more fun out of the box than the toy that came in it! With just the basics like a ball, skipping rope, pavement chalk and a bit of imagination the kids will come up with a hundred different ways to play.

Keep it fun

Nobody’s perfect! So they don’t kick the ball straight or haven’t managed to get the basketball in the net after 48 attempts – so what! Offer your child assistance to help them learn but don’t nag them into getting everything perfect or they won’t want to play any more. Also, there’s nothing funnier than mum or dad failing at something the kids are great at, so have a go too!

The gift of play

Got a birthday coming up? Buy gifts that encourage activity, like rollerskates, a bike, a hula hoop, flippers, riding lessons, sports tuition, or an activity voucher.

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  1. Shelz69 06/01/2019 at 1:26 pm

    I like the idea of turning it into play. As a family we do need to get more active together and I am aware that I am the role model so I need to lead by example. I hope to improve on this especially as they get older and potentially less motivated to exercise and spend more time on the screen.

  2. felicity beets 29/06/2018 at 6:17 pm

    I love sightseeing or exploring new places as a fun way for the family to excercise together, for example a trip to the zoo is always fun for everyone.

  3. kymmage 27/06/2018 at 8:09 am

    My youngest just took up soccer on the weekends and it’s great. It gets us all out of the house, and she has her eldest sister running along the sidelines shouting and cheering. Other than that, we are lucky to have a lot of cool nature walks and things in the area, and some not too long a drive away too. Playgrounds are great in summer, but I often can’t bring myself to go in winter because it gets too cold for me – I’m not the one burning my energy on the bars! Chipmunks is could good for winter, or going to the zoo or our local gardens too – good tracks, deceptively long walks but lots of cool stuff to see.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 25/06/2018 at 9:34 pm

    I would love to live in town for the simple fact that you can literally just go for a walk and make your own adventure. Instead we need to plan to go places and also find the space in the boot for both the pram and a bike most times. We do love to be active together though 🙂

  5. Mands1980 21/06/2018 at 3:11 pm

    Motivation is a huge benefit especially in winter when it is cold outside I find it harder to get outside with the kids. But when we have a nice sunny day that makes all the difference getting the kids outside and going for a walk/bike. Being outside is way better than being inside on devices or watching tv which kids love to do.

  6. Bevik1971 20/06/2018 at 10:16 am

    We live in the middle of town in an apartment, so no excuse but to walk everywhere we need to go (unless it’s miles away). So hubby picks up our 5 year old from school and they walk home every day, in the weekends we all hike up a big hill and go to on of the high schools and use their basketball hoop to all get some exercise and throw some hoops! Our daughter usually scooters around and plays with the basketball 🙂

  7. Shorrty4life1 19/06/2018 at 6:35 pm

    This is a great read. My kids are always wanting to go for a bike while I walk beside them. They get bored easily and feel the need to get out. Sometimes it’s not that easy when it’s cold so if it’s cold and raining we take them to chipmunks playground where there are running around and staying active away from technology. I love the idea of musical chairs to get active that was always my favourite as a child. I guess if you had enough room this could be a great inside game for winter.

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