Image source: Kidfit

How fitness trackers motivate your child to be more active

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are hot selling items and this is unlikely to change over the next few years. With updates, more functions and increasing widespread use, they are certainly here to stay.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers for kids

Trackers for kids may not yet be as commonplace as they are for adults, but they are slowly getting there. The percentage of children with obesity in America has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children is obese. That’s shocking to say the least.

Fitness trackers could help motivate your child to get moving – and here’s how.

Create a sense of achievement

Image source: GeoPalz

Children love to achieve something. It makes them feel more important, it 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 kids a daily step goal and see how long it takes before they are topping it every day. They will be 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 devices have in-built game functions which can 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 target, then they have won. Throw in some rewards if you feel they need some extra motivation. You can also encourage them to play more active games, such as sports or running games, to help beat their targets.

Start a competition

Image source: Garmin

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. 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 or Fitbit devices 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

Image source: Garmin

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, so they’ll be all the more motivated to get those numbers up! It’s a win-win situation. Hopefully by the time the novelty factor wears off, they will be well 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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