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Make a "Move! Jar"

For Parents continued...

Encourage your child to put activities in the jar that take advantage of items you have in and around your home that will be easy for her to access on her own. Is there a jungle gym in the backyard? Do you have a basketball hoop? A hula hoop? Add activities with these items to her Move! Jar so she can remember to use them.

Make sure every activity in the jar is something your child likes to do. Kids are more likely to agree to exercise when they think it's fun and it is their idea. Join in with her! That will make it extra fun for her, and it will help your health, too.

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about activities your child will enjoy:

  • Dance to three songs
  • Go outside, blow bubbles, and chase them
  • Have a marching parade through the house
  • Ride a tricycle, scooter, or bike
  • Jump rope
  • Play fetch with the dog

When to Use the Move! Jar:

You and your child will probably find the Move! Jar most effective and fun if you agree on a time to use it at least once a week or even every day. Here are some times you may decide to have your child use the Move! Jar:

  • Every day after school, as a way to energize before homework
  • Saturday afternoons
  • At a time your child typically wants to watch TV
  • During commercials
  • Any time your child complains, "I'm bored" or "There's nothing to do."

Think of your child's Move! Jar as an ongoing project. Routinely replace the activities in the jar with new ideas for exercise.

What to Teach Your Child: Be Active Every Day

Teach your child that kids need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Help them enjoy activities by complimenting their moves, adding music for extra fun, or increasing or decreasing competition based on your child's temperament.

Help them recognize the good ways that exercise makes them feel. Encourage your child to notice the pleasant feelings of a stretch and to feel proud of sweating or a racing heart. Positive reinforcements like this will help your child develop the lifelong habits of an active person.

What's the FIT Connection?

Teaching your child to be active every day is part of raising FIT kids. Kids who exercise each day reap many healthy rewards. Here are two you may not have thought of:

  1. Children who get plenty of physical activity sleep better. Sleep is important for growing bodies, and when kids are well-rested, they'll have energy to move and play the next day, too.
  2. Kids who exercise can use it as a way to manage stress in healthy ways.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on April 03, 2014

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