Encouraging kids to get active: A parent’s guide to exercise

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UK physical activity guidelines say that children should get 60 minutes or more of ‘moderate to vigorous’ activity each day. Of course, encouraging kids to get active can be difficult and many don’t get close to this — with sedentary behaviour such as watching television and using tablets getting in the way.

But have no fear, we’ve got some top tips on how to stay physically active with the kids.

Planning a routine

Routines are key to forming healthy habits and lifestyles. To kick-start your routine, try planning ahead by thinking of the three Ws:


Try planning out your physical activity schedule for the upcoming week.


Now that you know when you are going to get active, you need to decide what you’re going to do.

For example, you may wish to choose an online exercise class the night before, or you could write down some exercises down for the whole family to do together.

This will mean more time actually getting active, and less time deciding what to do.


Plan where the activity will take place and prepare the space in advance, if necessary.

This could mean clearing bits and bobs out of the way the night before.

Choose things you enjoy

Get each family member’s opinion when planning. It’s important that everyone agrees which activities to do.

You could even choose activities depending on your household goals. For example, increasing flexibility, having fun, improving attention and decision making, or strengthening muscles.

Lead by example

Family role models play an important role in getting kids to exercise, so your children may be more motivated and inspired if they see you getting active as well.

Remember, families that work out together, stay healthy together.

Key sources & further reading

NHS Live Well: Physical activity guidelines for children and young people

15 May, 2023