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Get off the Couch! 3 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Exercise

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Stay at home orders plus boredom is a recipe for lazy kids (and parents). Chances are, we’ve all developed an unhealthy habit or two since the country stopped functioning the way we were used to. Playing video games or watching TV all day may have left you wondering how to motivate kids to exercise.

If you’ve found that your family is a bit more sedentary than you’d like, don’t despair. It turns out the thing that got us to this point of laziness has also taught us a few lessons. Here are 3 things COVID-19 showed my family about getting active.

Wait. Mom works out?

Prior to COVID-19, I went to the YMCA almost daily to work out. Good for me, but my kids went into child care and never saw me exercising. For all they knew, I was sipping lattes the whole time. Once the gyms closed, I knew I had to switch gears and find ways to work out at home or outside. The great thing about it is that now my kids participate with me when I put on a workout video or head outside for a walk.

When your kids see that you’ve made exercise a priority, they are more likely to follow your lead. You’ll notice the extra health benefits of a healthier immune system, stronger lungs and heart, and even better moods.

Playdate? Yes, please!

Knowing how to motivate kids to exercise involves understanding what inspires them to get moving. I know I jumped at the chance to go for a walk with a friend, even with a heat index of 103 degrees. We were made for face-to-face relationships, so try calling up some of your kids’ friends.

When I take my kids for a hike or to the park, they get bored easily. They whine and complain and beg to turn around and head home. But when we invite friends to join us, they enjoy themselves much more. They come up with new games to play, they find plenty to discuss, and the time just flies by. They don’t even notice they are being active!

Think outside the box (or the house).

We had to get creative during the quarantine. Yesterday, the back yard was a deserted island with buried treasure. Today it’s the set of American Ninja Warrior. Doing the same activity every day may get old fast. So, if your kids tend to get bored easily, try planning different kinds of physical activities. Host a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Learn to hula hoop. Go for a family bike ride.

How have you come up with ways to encourage physical activity in your home? Need help beyond exercise? Here are 10 Ways to Motivate Your Child.


What’s your favorite way to exercise?

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