Everyone knows that kids need exercise. But should you reward your child for exercising? Getting outside and playing is often its own reward, but what about those kids who need a little extra push?
There are many thoughts on rewards as incentives when it comes to parenting. The essence of the anti-reward theories is that children should not be rewarded lest they begin to seek out the reward rather than gaining satisfaction for the activity itself. In education it can be damaging to intrinsic motivators. When it comes to getting exercise it can be counterproductive.
But when it comes to getting outside and playing in the backyard, an activity that may not ever be overly pleasurable to some, but in life, it’s a necessity, should you reward your child?
Personally, I’d say no, for the average child. If your child isn’t motivated by the overt activities of exercise, then find other ways to motivate them, like for instance, making the exercise about something else, like taking nature walks or having a picnic at the park near a play set; go swimming, buy roller blades, take them ice skating or bike riding.
Swing Sets will Easily Motivate your Child to Exercise…
Of course installing a swing set in your own backyard will make your job even easier… Kids won’t even realize they’re getting tons of exercise.
These activities essentially get the job done and they are more fun than just telling your child to go out and play.
If these activities aren’t pleasurable to your child, ask yourself, “Why doesn’t my child want to go outside and play?” There could be underlying physical or psychological issues.
For many special needs children, like children with ADD/ADHD or Autism, exercise is essential to their mental well-being. So getting them outside and moving their bodies is absolutely essential on a daily basis.
When all else fails, I’d say then yes, use rewards. But use them sparingly and be careful what kind of rewards you are giving.
Child professionals say never reward your child with food or candy, which can be counterproductive, especially when we’re talking about motivators for exercise.
Rewarding with edibles can lead to other psychological issues, eating disorders, obesity and obsessive compulsive issues.
So, if you’re going to reward your child for exercise, make it a reward that keeps on giving. For every hour they move their body, offer up an activity that they do enjoy, but will also keep them moving, like say for instance, a bounce house or roller skating, or even a trip to the mall (hey, walking around the mall can count as exercise, right?).
Exercise has Unlimited Rewards with Children
There are many things in life that can motivated with rewards, but the best reward for exercise is the good feeling one gets from the exercise. If you are careful about how you approach exercise, hopefully you can build solid habits for life, rather than using a carrot on a stick, which will eventually fade.