19 simple ways to raise kids who love being active

Over the years, I’ve tried my best as a parent to foster a love for physical activity in my kids. Teaching them wellness through movement is investing in their healthy future, so I am obviously motivated to do it. One thing I’ve come to realize is that not only do parents play a very important role in getting kids moving and positively influencing them to participate in sport, but there’s a lot we can do to help nurture their love of being active.

Here are some of my best tips on how to do just that.

1. Reinforce that girls can play too

Even in a dress. It doesn’t matter to me what the kids wear, especially my girls. Do you want to wear a skirt on your ride? Do it. Do you want to wear a dress under the hockey gear? Do it. Do you want to wear a dress when you’re hiking? Just do it. There is a time and a place for technical fabric, but most of the time, I don’t care what you wear, I just care that you’re out there, moving and smiling. 

2. Try new things and make it super fun by doing it with friends

You can celebrate the challenges and the successes together.

3. Teach resilience

Crashes happen. There are some things your kids won’t be quite ready for, but it’s important to know that it’s fantastic that they tried. When they’re ready, and only when they feel very good and ready, it’ll be waiting for them to try again.

4. Be a role model

It can be as simple as a walk in the park, but take the time for yourself to be physically active, and let your kids see.

5. Encourage sport through art

Having visual art or sports books as part of the things that surround us will demonstrate the things that are meaningful to us and make us whole.

6. Make it a family affair

And have fun doing it by taking a moment to be silly together.

7. Aim for the sky

Because achieving their full potential, might even surprise them!

8. Set goals

Even if that goal is sometimes simply ice cream at the end of the bike ride.

9. Reinforce the good feelings

It feels good when you achieve something, whether it comes with a medal or not!  Take pictures, give high fives, praise the hard work, and be impressed by them.

10. It’s okay to take a rest

We all need it sometimes.

11. Teach them to be creative

Maybe they can make up their own sport?

12. Think outside the box

Introduce active games like geocaching. Someday, if your kids opt out of organized sports, provide the building blocks to stay active on their own.

13. Teach them to be team players

On and off the playing field.

14. When they ask to try something new, let them try

Every time. Let them try.

15. Have them take ownership

For example, have them understand how all their gear works and also have them take ownership in caring for it.

16. Remind them of Mother Nature’s wonders

17. Let them play. Freely

18. Choose sports and activities that all siblings can be included in

When they can all participate, no matter what their level of abilities are, it becomes a family affair.

19. Always, always show me your “grrr” face!

Photos courtesy of Van Colden.


Read more about how to encourage kids’ love of being active:

The recipe to get kids moving—for life

5 fun activities that can help build your child’s bike-riding skills

How to get your kids to love being active

2 responses to “19 simple ways to raise kids who love being active

  1. Hi Kojo,
    Thank you for your comment! We care very much about diversity and representation at Active for Life, which we think is reflected across our entire site. In this case, these are personal photos from the author of the article. They’re images of her family, which is why they are all similar. However, if you look at the rest of our articles, I’ll think you’ll see we strive to represent a diverse mix of kids and families in our content.
    Have a great day!

  2. Very helpful advice and insights. It would be great to include more diverse representation in the photos so all children can see themselves reflected in the activities.

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