As a personal trainer, you would think my kids would be superfit. Not quite! In fact, my husband and I have had many head-scratching conversations trying to come up with ways to get our kids to spend less time with screens and more time moving. What we found was that parental nagging was not very effective. Usually the activity that sticks is the activity they initiate themselves.
Here are a few examples: When they were little, we enrolled them in just about every sports team we could find. They got most excited about the post-game snack. But, when our son asked to join the soccer team, he got into it and played for several years.
We have a family gym membership, and we've tried to put our kids through exercise routines. They hate it! But, my son asked for a pogo stick for Christmas, and he worked on that until he could do over 1,000 consecutive jumps. Trust me, that's a workout!
We've attempted family hikes and bike rides. I think their most-exercised muscles were in their eyes, as they rolled them at us. Not a hit. But, they like their independence, so they will ride their bikes to school, a friend's house, or the corner store for an ice cream cone. (Hey, it's a start!)
Our daughter discovered the Dance Dance Revolution games at a friend's party, and she has played ever since. Last year she asked for a skateboard for Christmas. We thought her interest would wane by the time we took down the tree-lights. It turned out to be the first item she placed in her suitcase when she left for college. Who knew?
Actually, just writing this is making me feel a little better about my kids' activity levels. They do move around, just not in ways that I've tried to direct. 18 years of child-raising has left me hesitant to give advice to another parent, since each kid is different. All I can say is keep trying, encouraging and offering opportunities. Most important, keep the relationship positive. You never know what will click, and it will probably be the last thing you expected!