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[IP] Exercise and Kids

In a message dated 2/3/02 8:34:24 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
email @ redacted writes:

> Does anyone have any tips for motivating a child to get out and walk(I
> go 3-4 miles a day and can tell the days I miss because my bg is not as
> smooth.)or ride a bike other than paying her money?
> Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

Hi Jennifer,
     My Claire (DM) loves to be active and we don't have a problem with 
enthusiasm for any activities.  Her two older brothers (non-DM), however, are 
a different story.  They are both very skinny (the eldest way too thin, he 
doesn't eat), so weight isn't a problem, but they do need something for 
fitness.  So I do know how hard it can be with kids.  
     I know that Michael mentioned how good organized sports are for kids, 
but some kids just do not like these and there isn't much you can do about 
that.  But I think if you work at trying out different options and have 
patience you may be able to come up with something.  I hope that one of my 
suggestions can help. 
      We discovered last summer that my second son is really good at hitting 
a tennis ball, so this spring we will sign him up for the inexpensive 
city-sponsored lessons.  He hates team sports and pushing, aggressive boys.  
Keep an eye out for anything your daughter may be especially adept at.  Even 
ping-pong can be fun and is some exercise, chasing the ball.    
     If she doesn't like team sports, what about something like dance 
classes?  (Not Ballet).  Claire has done Irish dancing and there is lots of 
hopping and skipping about, all to lively music.  Tap dancing is also great 
fun, and some places may offer line dancing for kids.  Classes are always 
more fun if a friend joins with you.
     Are there any kids bowling leagues where you live?  Claire loves bowling 
and is always bugging us to take her, though its fairly expensive where we 
live for all five of us to go.   
     Two inexpensive things that are popular with girls are skipping and 
using a hula-hoop.  I have seen 7 year old girls skipping for hours--don't 
know how they do it, cause it sure is hard work.  Do you remember any of the 
rhymes?  These can be great fun and there are books published with them.  
     Biking and walking with you would certainly be an ideal solution.  I 
love walking but I can see that it might be boring for a child.  Could you 
build up an activity that you would do together, which would be your special 
time together?  Just you and her and lots of time to chat about things.  I 
know that with several kids it is hard to give them individual attention, so 
when they get it they appreciate it.  Walks are always more fun and 
interesting with a dog! 
          We have just moved and are renting, but as soon as we settle into 
our permanent home we are planning on buying a trampoline.  Our last house 
looked out over a park into a neighbour's yard that had a trampoline.  There 
were kids jumping on that trampoline every spare minute of every day, it 
seemed, for years!  What a great investment.  What kid doesn't like jumping 
on beds, if allowed.  (Hotels are the prime spots for this).  There are also 
those small individual trampolines which can be used indoors.
     Finally, have you tried paying her money to do an activity?  I know it 
may sound awful but I used this with great success to get my kids off to 
school in the mornings.  We were trying to come up with an incentive to get 
them going without so much complaining and fussing--last year's schooling was 
a complete disaster.  As we are both economists, my hubbie thought of the 
money as a logical solution.  To my surprise, the psychologist/counseller we 
were working with thought it was a great idea.  So they all got their money 
when they left for school on time, without any nagging from me. The idea is 
that you pay the money for awhile, until the appropriate behaviour becomes 
ingrained.  We have had zero problems with school attendance this year, and I 
only paid until mid-October.  So don't rule out paying her to do some 

Good luck and best wishes,
Barbara, Mum of Claire 7, pumping 4/01   
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