How fitness trackers motivate your child to be more active

Fitness trackers have been one of the top trends of 2016, with more set to come over the next few years. With updates, more functions, and more widespread use, we certainly haven’t seen the last of them.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers for kids

Trackers for children may not yet be as commonplace as they are for adults, but perhaps they should be. They could help motivate your child to get moving – and here’s why.

Create a sense of achievement

Children love to achieve something. It makes them feel more important, gives them something to work towards, and helps them to understand that they are on the right track. Along with the natural motivation that this provides, we also teach children to approach tasks in this way at school, rewarding levels of achievement as they move through them.

Set your child a goal for steps for the day and see how long it takes before they are beating it every day. They will be even happier than normal to go running outside once they know that they are also gaining “points” on their fitness tracker.

Make it a game

One of the main features of children’s fitness trackers is the ability to turn fitness into a game. Many of them have in-built game functions which will help them to get even more enjoyment out of active play.

Even if yours does not have this feature, you can create a game for them. Ask them to see how many steps they can do in the week – if they beat their targets every day, then they have won. Rewards can be included such as a small snack or toy if you feel that they need the extra motivation. You can also encourage them to play more active games, such as sports or running games, in order to beat their targets.

Start a competition

If you have more than one child, you can definitely turn fitness into a friendly competition. You can also get together with other parents to have a competition between school friends.

Whether the winner is chosen daily, weekly, or even monthly, your kids will want to do as much as they can to get the prize. Glory is a good enough reward, but you can also add little treats as a prize too. Where siblings are concerned, just make sure that the targets are realistic for all – a younger child would otherwise be beaten every week by an older one thanks to their naturally stronger abilities.

Create lifelong awareness

One of the best things about fitness trackers is that they make you aware of how much you move, and how much energy you spend doing it. Generation after generation has often found that leaving school and organised sports behind means a drop in activity levels. This often comes with reduced fitness and even a higher risk for obesity.

By teaching your children about their activity levels, you can help to make fitness a habit, not a chore. The more they understand about movement and activity, the more likely they are to make an effort to stay fit long into their adult lives.

Get the cool factor

Finally, there is one area in which kids will always naturally compete: who has the best toys. Even into the teenage years this can continue with more of a focus on gadgets and accessories. Make sure that you give your kids the best start at fitness by getting them the coolest and funkiest fitness trackers. It will make them the envy of all of their friends at school, which in turn will motivate them to use and show off the fitness trackers even more.

Essential reading: The best smartwatches for kids

They won’t want to admit to school friends that they haven’t met their targets, and so they will be all the more motivated to get those numbers higher! It’s a win-win situation, and by the time the novelty factor wears off, they will have got into the habit of being more active.

On top of all of this motivation, you can be sure that using the fitness trackers will be excellent for you as a parent. You will know when to reward effort, and when to push for more, just by glancing at the stats.

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Heidi Finigan

Heidi Finigan is a blogger tackling Internet security news and tips at VPN Compass where she often writes about keeping children secure online. Heidi is also a mother of two little rascals and knows exactly how difficult yet important it is to keep children active and fit.

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