Motivating Your Teen to Stay Active
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A teen's behaviors play a large part in whether he will be motivated to stay active and eat healthy - the two important factors in avoiding obesity. It's important to educate your child from an early age about nutrition, physical activity, and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Read up on the subject and be prepared for any questions your teen may ask. Be aware of the diseases and health issues that come with being overweight, and don't be afraid to lay all the facts on the line.
Although factors such as your teen's personal characteristics and your family's financial situation may be hard to change, environment is a factor that parents can control. Try to get your teen involved in activities he enjoys. Not everyone is cut out to be a star baseball player, and forcing your teen to play a specific sport won't make him like it. Instead, tune in to your teen's likes and dislikes. If he enjoys martial arts, enroll him in a class a couple times a week. If he expresses an interest in tennis, get him involved in tennis lessons. If your financial situation makes it hard for you to pay for special lessons, look into your town's local activities. Community centers often offer classes and lessons for free or at a reduced cost.
Making physical activity a family affair is another cheap and easy way to keep your teen active while also building a solid relationship with you. Try making a weekly family activity a part of your normal routine - soon to become a family tradition. Once a week, get the whole family together for some fun exercise such as hiking, biking, or Frisbee. Not only will you all get a great workout, you'll also get to spend some quality time together!
Teens want to excel and feel useful, and success can be a powerful motivator. An active part time job helps many teens get exercise and feel useful at the same time. Keep in mind, though, that it may take a couple of tries before your teen finds a job he likes and does well - don't get frustrated if he changes his mind a couple of times. A strong relationship and good communication with your teen will help you both figure out the perfect activity for him.
More on: Teen Health and Safety