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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can we get a our child (age 7) to be more active?

    Our son is slightly overweight and we would like him to join some recreational sports teams. Most of the boys at his school play soccer or basketball. We've tried to get him involved but he's not very athletic and doesn't enjoy sports. Advice?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Catherine Asciak

    Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am an Educational and Developmental Psychologist with almost 10 years’ experience working with children and adolescents. I have worked in a variety of settings … View Profile

    Often the best way to help your child become more active is to lead by example. That is, try participating in active games together. This doesn't have to be “sport” in the traditional sense.  Try some of the following ideas:
    1. Put some music on and dance around together
    2. Go out into the garden (if possible) and do some gardening
    3. Walk (or ride a bike) to the local park for a play and a picnic for morning tea
    4. Start simple ball skill activities by tossing balls into a washing basket (try tossing socks into the basket if you are indoors).
    5. Go for a walk together to the local shops to get some fresh bread. Use the opportunity to chat about things you see on the way. It is more fun if your walk has a purpose - unlike just walking for the sake of exercise.

    The possibilities are endless if you try thinking of creative ways to move. Try not to push your child into organised recreational sports unless they show an interest in it.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Emma Thompson

    Psychologist

    Emma has over 10 years experience working with women, children, young people and their families in a variety of roles. This includes significant experience working … View Profile

    This is fantastic advice above; children value any opportunity to spend quality time with their parents and if you are able to find opportunities to spend this time together involved in something active you are both leading by example and creating positive memories with your son.

    Activities that involve unstructured exercise are a great way to start - just adding to the examples above:
    * Going on a picnic as a family, but make it somewhere interesting that you have to hike/bushwalk into
    * Now that the weather is slowly warming up the beach is a great place to visit - take a frisbee or ball or see who can collect the most interesting looking pebble
    * Walking/riding or scooting to and from school a few times a week if this is possible
    * When your son has friends over to visit, encouraging outdoor activities or visiting the local park, again take a frisbee, ball or glider for them to toss to each other

    If he is engaged in movement in some way then he is being active and that's a great place to start.

  • Maria Nguyen

    HealthShare Member

    I agree with advice above. Participating in sports together with your child will help him to be more active and start enjoying sports more. When I was 10-11 years old, I was not exactly athletic, but my parents would always take me and my brother camping. Together we would play volleyball and soccer. It is how I started to like volleyball and swimming and still love both of these sports and play volleball for fun every chance I get.

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