The answer could be yes if your child is one of the many that aren’t getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Their activity goals will be different from yours, but wearing a tracker should get them up and moving around more. We have several tips today that’ll help your children (and you) get the benefits from these handy devices.
If you have children in the age range of 4 – 14 years, it’s important to get a fitness tracker that will work best for them. They won’t be able to use one like yours just yet which is good since their wearables are less pricey. There are some terrific trackers for kids out there like Sqord Activity Tracker (ages 8-14), LeapFrog LeapBand (ages 4-7), or Garmin Vivofit Jr. (ages 4 & up), to name just a few. Devices for your child such as these show their statistics in a simpler form which will make it easier for them to understand as well as use. For example, it keeps track of activity in minutes rather than steps.
So your youngster can walk, just turned two and is now making complete sentences. Does that mean she should have a fitness tracker monitoring all her movements? Well, no. She most likely won’t understand it. So it’s best to wait until she’s a couple of years older—maybe in kindergarten or when she’s going in the first grade.
For adults, the suggested daily step goal is 10,000 steps; yet for kids, this doesn’t make any sense. Why? It comes down to their body—your child’s legs are shorter, so he’ll take more steps every day than you do. Not to mention kindergarteners and elementary school children will become overwhelmed because at that age they just can’t grasp the concept of big numbers yet. So what can you do? Rather than a step goal, help them set an activity goal of one hour per day. They may need some prompting, but there are many activities they can do such as shooting some hoops with a parent or sibling, playing tag in the backyard with friends or siblings, jumping rope, dancing in the living room or playing at the park or on their swing set in the yard. It’s best to wait until they’re 13 (when they’ve got longer legs) to begin concentrating on tracking their steps.
When your children know how to use their wearable, after a while their interest might wane a bit and they’ll require assistance in meeting their activity goals. So why not give them different challenges? Ask one to find out how many minutes it would take to walk to her friend’s house; if you live in a small town, try walking with another child to the next town. If he can’t make it all the way, it’s okay; he’ll go further and further as he builds endurance. Or each week you can set a goal for each child and let them try to beat that goal. Providing them with their own challenges is more fun and fair for them; you wouldn’t want your 7-year-old feeling bad about herself because she couldn’t keep up with her 12-year-old sister. Draw up a colorful progress chart and hang it on the fridge so each child can see how they’re doing.
Do you want your kids to be more active? Well, stop being a couch potato and move with them! Each day set aside some time to do something as a family. The kids will soon learn that being active can be an enjoyable part of everyone’s daily life. As a family unit, you can do anything from playing your own version of baseball or basketball to just enjoying each other’s company during a nice walk after supper.
Each night schedule time to sit down with your children and to talk about how active they were during that day and what different activities they’d like to do the next day. Listen to their ideas and how they think they can be more active if they need to be. Chances are they’ll move around more if their daily goal contains things they enjoy doing. If they need some help with ideas and are only missing, say, 15 minutes of activity, you could recommend doing some aerobics or riding their bike after school.
Whatever bright, vivid kid’s fitness tracker you choose, when you put these tips into effect your little ones are sure to make good use of it—and have fun at the same time!
Photo Credit: Stepcounterpedometer