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Parents' Guide: Alex Moves His Body

Message: Exercise feels good and is fun.

Exercising and moving makes your body strong and healthy. Exercise feels great and can make you feel happy. Moving and playing is fun!

  • Why does Alex want to move?
  • How will Alex feel if he moves and plays like Super Guy?
  • If you weren't playing video games or watching TV, what could you do?

Parenting Tip: Help your child recognize the good ways that exercise makes him feel. When you exercise with him, talk about how good it feels when you move and stretch. Encourage him to feel proud when he sweats or makes his heart pump fast by exercising. Talk about how exercising makes you feel strong. Also, kids are more likely to move when it is their idea, so let your child use his imagination. Free play helps kids develop motor skills and stimulates their creative thinking. Plus, exercise creates endorphins -- chemicals in the brain that trigger happy, calm feelings.

Reinforce the Message: Exercise is Fun

Try to limit your child's total screen time (for video games, TV, and computer) to less than two hours a day. If you can, don't let your child watch more than one hour of TV in a sitting. Cut back screen time gradually, if necessary. You can even add exercise into your child's screen time. For example, make a deal that after every video game he plays, he gets up and dances, hops, stretches, or does some other physical activity for five minutes. Or do jumping jacks together during the commercials while watching TV.

Children may find it easier to decide on an activity if you give them a specific choice, such as, "Would you like to ride your bike or play catch?" Help your child enjoy physical activities more by adding music or increasing or decreasing competition (based on her temperament). Praise your child's efforts to keep up her motivation.

Remember that kids learn by watching what you do. So make sure you're getting daily exercise, too. Maybe take a walk as a family after dinner instead of watching TV. It's a great way to be healthy and spend some quality time together.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 11, 2016
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