Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Teaching Kids To Be FIT


Yesterday I posted this picture on my Instagram.

As I was walking on the treadmill both my kids were interested in what I was doing. They see the treadmill more like a toy if anything I’m sure but I had them each take turns running on the treadmill. They love to workout with me and I love to have them join me. I received an email recently asking me how to teach kids fitness and keep it interesting for them.

I decided to dedicate a post for this question. Teaching kids is fun, there are a few things you can do to make it a success.

Teaching Kids To Be FIT

I have been teaching kids fitness class for a few years and it is one of my favorite classes to teach. I love introducing movement to them and watching them learn how their body moves.

Here are a few of my best tips to teach kids to love fitness.

  • Make it FUN
  • Teach by show, tell, do.
  • Keep the workouts short
  • Workout with them.
  • Give them breaks when they need it.
  • Give them praise for achievements.

Make it FUN!

Do you guys remember in Jr. High when we had to go “Run the Mile” every Friday at the end of class and it was something that we all dreaded? Maybe because your grumpy teacher just sent us out while he/she stood there and just watched us. When you finished, you were done. The only motivation we had to finish was maybe having a longer time to get back in the locker room to get ready for the next class. There are many ways that could have been made “fun.”

Making fitness fun for kids is the number one thing on my list because I think it is the most important. If a kid learns from the start that moving and sweating is enjoyable. Working out will be something they look forward to and not dread. It is best to keep a positive attitude when teaching kids. If you have had a bad day and they hear you complain maybe about your own workout, chances are they won’t be too excited about their own workout. (This actually goes for adults too! Who wants to take a class when the teacher doesn’t seem to love what they are teaching as well?)

Teach by show, tell, do.

Have you ever been taught how to do a dance by the instructor simply standing there and telling you what to do? It is possible yes, but most people especially children learn quicker by visual cues. Whenever teaching a new movement I would show them how to do it, tell them how and why, and then have them do it with me.

Kids have short attention spans. Lets be real. I break up their class in a certain way to keep their attention and to keep them moving.

When it comes down to the workout I find the most success by making it a quick and effective workout.

One of my favorite type of workouts to do with kids is Tabatas. Which is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. They get into it too and seem to work hard cause they know they get a break. Their workouts do not need to be any longer then 15-20 minutes. You will start to see them get tired fast if you try to go any longer than that.

Don’t  make them stupid sore

Kids don’t like to be sore, it could actually make them dread working out because they are more likely to relate soreness to being hurt and you don’t want that. Keep the workouts moving through different movements. For example: squatting for 2 minutes straight will make them more sore then a few reps here and there.

Workout with them

I have found this to be most effective with my own kids. They love to go for walks with me and even race me around the park. It seems to motivate them when they have you to beat. Kids pay attention to what we do. When we enjoy what they are doing as well, they seem to get a little more into it too. EVEN WHEN I TEACH MY KID CLASSEs I would walk around and do the workout along with them. They loved it!

Give them breaks

Kids have one switch. They aren’t the best at pacing themselves, so when they workout they are most likely to push themselves harder. Give them breaks often, let them get a drink a couple times during the workout.

Give Praise

I have found that kids are motivated by praise and success. Tell them when they do something well, learn a new skill, or working hard.

Everyone likes a little praise, let them know their hard work is paying off!

Get active with your kids, especially with winter coming don’t use the cold as an excuse, taking them for a hike, or teaching them to hit the slopes are great ways to keep them active. Even a quick fun workout at home will help boost their moods and keep them in shape for spring.

How do you keep fitness fun for yourself?