The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that kids aged 6 to 17 get at least one hour of physical activity – a.k.a. exercise – each day. Whether your child is a bit of a couch potato or just has a hard time devoting 60 minutes to exercise each day, there are ways dads can help.
1. Let kids choose their exercise. Try things like dance classes, martial arts, swimming, biking, hiking and sports teams to determine what activities will keep your kids motivated.
2. Break up the hour into more manageable time frames. Encourage them to play a game of kickball in the morning, ride their bikes in the afternoon and take a walk together in the evening. Twenty minutes each time will add up to an hour without feeling overwhelming.
3. Set a good example. As with many parenting obstacles, the best way to get kids to do what you want them to is to do it yourself. So, get active and in shape for yourself as well!
4. Encourage "some" video game use. While sitting in front of a screen with a bowl of chips by their side won’t encourage physical activity, some "active-play" video games, like the Nintendo Wii, can keep your kids moving.
5. Exercise together. Plan outings and activities that will help the whole family stay active. Pack a picnic lunch and hike into the woods to find the perfect spot, ride bikes together, or enlist kids’ help with mowing the grass and other active household chores.
Helping kids develop an appreciation and affection for exercise will help ensure they stay healthy throughout their lives.