There are huge distractions for children today from televisions, video games, to other modern technology. This is particularly challenging when they return home from school and complete their homework. Getting your kids to participate in any extracurricular activity is no easy task.
Nobody wants to see their children locked up all day while other kids are out taking dance lessons, music classes, or riding their bikes. If you find it difficult to motivate your child to participate in an activity, especially when they seem reluctant, uninterested, or somewhat shy, you’re not alone in this.
Children, regardless of their age, often find it intimidating to participate in a new or somewhat challenging activity. However, you can encourage them by finding out what they enjoy and what motivates them. Here are 9 tips that will motivate your child to put down that iPad and participate in an activity.
1. Communication is key
To make your child see the benefit of participating in an activity, whether physical or mental, it’s extremely important to maintain open and free communication. Talk to your child to get down to the root of what is holding him/her back. Is she afraid her friends will laugh at her? Is he scared he can’t play football?
Let the child know they can always come to you with their concerns no matter how busy you may be. Make sure you ease their concerns at the end of the discussion. Once you know the root of the problem, you can easily find a solution.
Introduce a wide range of activities so the child can discover what they enjoy most. Although this will take up most of your time, it’ll help you determine what they enjoy and what they don’t. look for activities that suit their physical size and personality. Also, ensure you choose age-appropriate activities, so they don’t feel left out and awkward. You can take your child to a karate class and a yoga class to gauge their reactions. If the child seems bored in yoga class but attentive in karate class, then you should sign them up for a karate lesson.
If you want your child to agree to an activity, you have to ensure it’s fun. Don’t force them. If you sign them up for an activity, they don’t enjoy they’ll constantly complain and become miserable. Doing something that makes them miserable will always backfire. So don’t take the fun out of the activity.
It is important that you show moral support for your child during these activities. When you attend their games or activities it will help boost their motivation. However, do not get too involved. Don’t confuse your child with excessive technicalities and don’t try to teach the coach or instructor their job. You may do more harm than good. You can ask for some advice from the instructor to help your child. It's absolutely okay. Your child will understand the advice better when you’re all on the same page.
Your child is more likely to participate in an activity when you are involved in one yourself. You can’t preach what you don’t do. If you sit in front of the TV all through the weekend, your child won’t want to get involved in any activity that involves getting away from the TV. It’s the example you’ve set for them. Rather, let them see you going to a gym, attending yoga classes, or going to the book club. Kids who repeatedly see their parents reveling in sports and other physical activities are more likely to follow in their footsteps.
Some children won’t participate until their friends are involved. When you notice that your child is the shy type, try to pair them up with other more outgoing children that you’re certain will be friendly and inspiring. You can also get them involved with their friends or people they know. Try to them in activities that require them to work together with other kids to achieve their task. Likewise, if you have an older child already involved in an activity, ask him/her to take your reluctant kid under their wing. Participating with an older sibling can sometimes be more fun.
Reducing the screen time of your children will inspire them to fill their days with more activities. Fill these extra times with physical activities. Unnecessary screen time will impact your child’s capacity to perform the basic everyday activities he needs to stay healthy and learn. This can also lead to a sort of “tunnel vision” that can be harmful to the child’s overall growth. Pediatric research suggests that children shouldn’t be allowed more than 1-2 hours of screen time per day, including videos, TV, video games, and computers.
Remember they are still kids, so don’t overdo it. Everyone has different stamina and attention span. Pushing too hard can discourage your child and even breed disgust for the activity. You don’t want that. Extracurricular activities shouldn’t take up all the child’s free time. Children need to relax too.
Not every child is arty or sporty. Don’t force them into the activity, instead, help them to discover what they really like. If they have attended many times and still didn’t enjoy the activity, give them a break. Let them skip it for a week. You don’t want to push too hard too soon.
Physical activities shouldn’t hurt. If this is the case, try to slow down and let your child rest. If the child begins to lose weight more than normal, it could affect their schoolwork and other activities. Contact his doctor to know the way forward! Don’t forget your balanced diet. Encourage your child to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Physical activities are good, but one cannot replace the other. It’s never too early to instruct your child about a balanced lifestyle.