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Photo: YOU Belong

These days, it can be pretty tough to get kids to do something as simple and engaging as playing kids sport. Though it seems slightly crazy, throwing a ball around or running around with friends will often take second place to video games, TV, cell phones, and the internet.

Many parents despair at the time their kids spend in front of a screen when they themselves spent their childhoods playing outside with nothing but nature and friends for amusement (and maybe a ball and some roller-skates if they were lucky). And the frightening statistics about obesity levels don’t help.

Getting kids excited about sports so they voluntarily switch off the TV can be tough, but it’s a challenge we all need to face up to. The National Center for Health Statistics has found that 30 percent of American adults are already obese (some 60 million people) and no one wants that for their child.

The effect of exercise on overall health is a pretty compelling case for getting your children into kids' sports. And getting your kids excited about sports now is an excellent groundwork for a healthy and happy future. But it’s not always easy going.

Here are 7 tips to get reluctant kids away from their LCD screens and excited about kid's sports.

1. Move around

‍You can still get your child to do the physical activity each day without necessarily signing up to a sports club. "A walk in the forest, visiting the park, or even going up the stairs gives little ones a great playground for developing their motor skills," explains Joëlle. "Physical activity can definitely start at home. It's a great setting for giving your child a taste for moving around. Blowing soap bubbles, for example, is actually a great way of training their breathing!", Blog Decathlon cites.

2. Join them in play

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It is advisable for the parents and elders to take the kids to the backyard or the nearby park or playground on regular occasions and play with them. Photo: My Backyard Sports

Kids often tend to follow their parent’s footsteps and adopt their habits very easily. If they see you lazing around and fiddling with your devices and gadgets all day, they will automatically copy the same. It is advisable for the parents and elders to take the kids to the backyard or the nearby park or playground on regular occasions and play with them, according to You Belong to Initiative.

You can take up any sports activities like running, cricket, football, baseball, basketball, jumping ropes or any other sports of your choice. This will encourage the kids and also build up the habit of playing sports. If you aren’t into sports, teach them by example – pursue 10000 daily steps on a treadmill with them and show them that you lead by doing, and not by flapping your gums.

3. Coach them at an early age

Provide them with professional coaching in their specific field of sports. Identify their likes and dislikes and encourage them to explore their passion for expert supervision. This will improve their skills and build up their confidence level – plus, you will be able to provide the advice that will stay with them throughout their lives. It’s an investment worth making, yes?

4. Give them a challenge

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From the age of six or seven, kids can start to focus on one particular discipline. Photo: Wikipedia

‍From age three and up, all sorts of new possibilities are on offer, from tennis to judo, team sports and agility sports. "Between the ages of three and six, children are still at a stage where they will choose a discipline to have fun. You shouldn't specialize them in a particular field. Instead, you should let them try lots of things," says Joëlle.

From the age of six or seven, they can start to focus on one particular discipline.

"You shouldn't overload them with activities or put too much pressure on them. Sport should remain enjoyable," she explains. "Open days at sports clubs are a great way of letting kids find an activity they like. If they join the club, they need to understand how long their membership lasts (e.g. one year) to give them a sense of responsibility."

If they don't seem particularly interested, get them to join the same team or the same club as their friends, who might persuade them to give it a try!

5. Make it fun

Both kids and adults will respond far less positively to any activity that feels like a chore, so making exercise fun is a great way to get kids excited about it, as said by Blog Activity Hero.

Classes like Zumba, which incorporates dance moves into exercise, are ideal for making the experience one they will want to repeat, as well as developing a sense of rhythm and physical confidence.

6. Teach them about great sports figures

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Photo: The Aspen Institute Project Play

Gift your children the popular biographies and stories about great sportsperson if they are fond of reading or listening to stories. The glorious journey and achievements might encourage your kids to follow their path.

7. Let your child decide

You may love horseback riding, but does he?

There’s probably nothing less motivating for a kid – particularly those of a certain age – than being told that they have to do a certain sport (or a certain anything).

Whether it’s because it’s a sport you wished you had excelled at as a child or one you think they have a talent for, forcing kids to do something they clearly don’t want to do is rarely constructive.

That’s not to say: let off the hook. Make it clear that some sort of sport is compulsory, but let them choose the one that is right for them.

Their First Activities

‍Besides riding to school on a hobby horse or jumping between the white stripes on a zebra crossing, your child can go swimming from the age of four months if they are up to date with their vaccinations. Baby swimming classes are available everywhere, as well as baby gym classes, for kids aged two and up. "Baby swimming is a great chance to get them out of the house and enjoy a parent-child experience that gets them used to the water from an early age." Like with baby gym, which is designed to help tots learn motor skills, playing in the swimming pool helps them build their coordination and understand and control their body's physical abilities!

For more useful tips in life, please check out our KnowInsider!

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