Fitness trackers and smartwatches are a hot selling item and this is unlikely to change 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. The percentage of kids with obesity in America has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children is obese.
Fitness trackers could help motivate your child to get moving – and here’s how.
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 daily step goal and see how long it takes before they are topping it every day. They will be even happier than normal to go running outside once they know that they are also gaining “fitness points” by doing this.
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 devices have in-built game functions which will help kids get even more enjoyment out of active play.
Even if yours does not have this feature, you can create a game for them. Ask your kids 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.
Or how about getting in on the competition? You can, for example, link up Garmin’s new Vivofit 4 for adults, with Vivofit Jr for kids to get the whole family moving. Once the competition is over, you’ll see the total number of steps for the challenge on your devices, and find out who won.
Create lifelong awareness
One of the best things about fitness trackers is that they make you aware of just how much you move. Generation after generation has found that leaving school and organised sports behind coincides with a drop in activity levels.
By teaching your children about their activity levels, you can help to make fitness a habit, not a chore. The more they learn about the benefits of 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.
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They won’t want to admit to school friends that they haven’t met their targets, and so they’ll 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 be 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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