In my former role with Gecko Sports as a trainer, coach and friend to thousands of kids, I loved the impact I was able to have on children’s development. Seeing kids get fitter, stronger, and more skilled, with improved flexibility, better posture, greater self-esteem and improved confidence gave me so much job satisfaction.

Physical activity is important for children and adults of all ages. Involving kids in organised sport is a fantastic start, but ‘fitness’ shouldn’t end when the coach packs up his or her gear and heads home. To make movement a natural part of our kids’ lives, we need to take it a step further.

We are our kid’s role models.

It’s not rocket science that physically active parents have a greater likelihood of their kids being active as well. It’s also a no-brainer that active kids are more likely to become active adults.

I believe that teaching our children to enjoy physical activity is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

As a parent, I pride myself on being active in getting active. I believe that teaching our children to enjoy physical activity is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. It sets them on the path to a lifetime of good health and helps us, as parents, stay active too.

This doesn’t mean you need to start coaching the footy team fifteen hours a week. The best way to teach is to model the kind of behaviour we’d like our kids to adopt.

Home workout you can do with your kids

In taking care of yourself, you needn’t leave the kids behind. It’s easy to be active as a family and is one of life’s true pleasures. 

Little Willow loves getting involved when I’m working out at home, so I’m sure yours will too.

Try this full-body workout next time you’re looking for some inspiration to get fit at home…or when you need to procrastinate instead of doing the washing. It takes about 20 minutes, is challenging enough to work up a sweat, and Willow absolutely loves it.

  • Bent over rows – 15
  • Plank high 5’s – 30
  • Squats -15
  • Hallway sled push
  • Hallway walking lunge
  • Sit-ups – 15
  • Kayaks -30

Try lots of different activities with your kids to broaden their skills and help them discover activities that they’ll love. The idea is to have fun, keep moving, and spend time together.

Sam & Willow on the trampoline

There are so many reasons why we need to get active with our kids, that I honestly don’t know where to begin. The importance of being an active family is something that I could talk about all day, but to keep it simple, I’ll give you some practical examples that you can implement straight away.

Here are my top 8 tips for getting (and keeping) your kids active.

1. Be a ‘do as I do’ not ‘as I say’ parent

Never underestimate the influence you have on your kids. Act as a role model and never forget- they are sponges that soak up your every-day behaviours. Lead by example and practice what you preach.

2. Horses for courses

When it comes to the activities that your kids want to do, there is no right or wrong choice. Facilitate and support as many different physical pursuits as you can. Don’t just try soccer, footy, and netball.

Eve and Willow at footy practice

3. Following on from point 2… be patient and persistent.

Be patient until they find their passion. Some kids take a long time and need to try an array of activities before finding one or two that are right for them.

4. Think outside the box to help your child find their passion

Remember, if your child doesn’t like the ‘typical sports’ they do at school, it doesn’t mean your child isn’t sporty. Your child may not be suited to sports that involve a ball, or they may be better suited to an individual sport rather than a team sport. It could also mean they prefer sports or physical activities that are a little ‘left of centre’.

5. Let your imagination run wild

Anything that gets your kids active, laughing and away from a screen can only be a good thing. You don’t need a lot of space, a lot of time, a lot of expertise or a lot of equipment to get your kids active and have a ball. Dancing, tug of war, treasure hunts, good old fashioned hide and seek, back yard workouts with mum or dad, boxing, tag… the list goes on.

 6. Get active as a family

Getting active is always more fun when you have a little buddy by your side. Weekends are a great opportunity to spend quality time together as a family. Walk to the local café instead of taking the car. Take a ball to your nearest park, bike ride around the neighbourhood, go hunting for shells on the beach, or go to the local pool together for some family fun.

Walking with the family

7. Be selfless

As much as we want our kids to be ‘the best’ or achieve sporting conquests that perhaps we never achieved in our own sporting lives, it’s important not to live vicariously through them. It’s a lot of pressure, which could lead to them associating physical activity with negative feelings. Never forget that the best message you can give your child is that you will support them no matter what choices they make, and you don’t care if they win or lose as long as they are having fun.

8. Most importantly – have fun!

Getting active helps our kids with strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, balance, co-ordination and the list goes on… but none of this will ever surpass the importance of having fun. If you help your child develop a healthy attitude towards physical activity at an early age it helps them make friends and build self-esteem and general confidence. And, once they feel good about being active, in most cases, these healthy habits will stick with them for a lifetime.

Snez walking with baby willow along the boardwalk

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Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.