My biggest recommendation to parents is to enroll their children in at least one structured sports program. Most sports and activity programs have been organized to provide children with the levels of activity they need. Most professionals running programs have training that allows them to understand your child’s physical and emotional development. They know how to set up exercise and sports activities that are fun, challenging and also allow your child to develop the skills they need physically, socially and mentally. Having your child signed up for a sports program or structured activity also lessens the amount of time you need to spend thinking about how they will get their required minimum hour of exercise per day. Generally, also programs like these allow children to exercise at an appropriate level of intensity. It is sometimes difficult to get an unmotivated child to get to this level on their own.
In our own Fit Family Triathlon training program, we’ve seen children who had earlier been described as “lazy, unmotivated and un-athletic” excel when they were training with us. There’s something extremely amazing and affirming about enrolling children in a supportive group. They excel and end up loving to play and move.
Every child I’ve worked with in a group atmosphere who was overweight and supposedly "non-athletic" has completed and loved what we’ve done together. They were extremely capable and just needed support, guidance and encouragement.
- Find out what programs exist at your child’s school or at your Church, community center. Talk to other friends with children. Connect with coaches, search online or connect with us and we’ll let you know what we offer and what organizations we love.
- Write down 10 activities that you can sign your child up for over the next year. Ask your child to pick at least three of these activities. If they can’t choose any, choose three for them.
- Call or contact the coaches and plan for these even if they are a year away. Talk to the contact people about your child’s weight/health concerns and also about their resistance and fear about signing up. See if the coach has worked with children like these. If the coach is interested and needs guidance direct them our way, we provide training for professionals so they can help your child.
- Or sign up for programs that specifically work with overweight children who are struggling with improving their health.
- Check out our downloadable program for more helpful tips on encouraging your overweight child to improve their health
Cory Nyamora, PsyD.