Parents of teenagers must remember when their kids were younger. When you wanted to go for a family walk, the kids would usually leap at the chance to go out and play.
Once your kids become “rebellious” teenagers, going for a walk with parents is not on top of their agenda. Spending time with the oldies is not cool.
Yet it’s important to concentrate on developing healthy habits in young adults. Ideally, health training should start before your offspring turn into moody and opinionated teenagers.
It’s well-founded that exercise is important for building and maintaining good health. Walking may only be an entry-level, moderate form of exercise but studies show there are plenty of health gains simply by walking for 30-60 minutes a day.
If you are having trouble convincing your kids to go for a walk to keep fit and develop good health habits, you may have to turn to alternative solutions.
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Bribes Always Work
Bribing your kids sounds so wrong but it works. Some kids will accept a dose of sweets, ice-cream or other sugary favourites. Chocolate bars are actually a good energy booster whilst you’re out walking.
Older children may be more willing if you offer money or use the family walk as a trade-off for something they want to do – like bowling with their friends. They can only go bowling if they go walking.
The More The Merrier
Kids love hanging out with their friends so why not invite them along on your walk too. Exercise is always more fun when you have friends to share the experience with.
Make Walking Fun
You don’t have to go walking just for the exercise. You can use the time constructively by integrating some form of activity such as a game or educational quest.
There are many creative ways to make walks exciting and interesting for kids of all ages. Playing games, creating a ‘find-the-flower’ nature hunt or camping overnight in the great outdoors transforms walking into an adventure.
Be Creative Storytelling
Children love stories so why not invent one about walking with benefits. You will find true stories online about how real people have used walking to lose weight and manage illnesses such as diabetes.
Or you could make one up.
There was once a chubby kid who was picked on by his friends at school and was often too sick to go out and play. His doctor ordered him to start walking every day and he soon lost weight. Children at school didn’t pick on him any more, he was hardly ever ill and felt much happier.
That’s not a true story – but it could be.
Cool Apps Make Walking More Fun
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Some of them help kids engage in nature simply by pointing their smartphone at a flower, a tree, or seeds.
There are plenty of nature apps that can be used as educational tools for children of all age. In the evening, you can even identify constellations, planets and solar systems.
As fears around Covid-19 drag on and governments enforce prolonged lockdowns, it’s even more important for families to go for walks. Use this time to embed healthy lifestyles in the minds of your children.