10 Rules to Keep Kids Active

Rule 4: ...Unless You're Playing Wii

We're not saying that your child should start spending more time in the living room than the backyard, but kids can have a good workout by playing certain video games. Recently, the American Heart Association officially stated that Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort games are legitimate ways to stay active.

And a recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that kids (aged 10 to 13) who played Dance Dance Revolution had an exercise session that was comparable to walking at a moderate-intensity pace.

21 Big life lessons learned from little kids.

Rule 5: Never Reward Kids With Food

It's no wonder childhood obesity is so prevalent: "We tell our children to eat healthy, but then we reward their good behavior with junk food," says Liston. No, there's nothing wrong with an occasional treat. But to consistently reinforce a kid with ice cream and candy for a job well done-such as finishing his homework-delivers the wrong message.

In fact, you should use caution in rewarding kids with any kind of food, including healthy fare. "This practice can teach them that it's good to eat even when they're not hungry," explains Liston. Instead, give them another kind of reward-like extra playtime outside.

Pack the perfect school lunch: Send your children off with the right fuel they need to learn-and play.

More: 7 Healthy Eating Tips for Families on the Go

Rule 6: Instruct by Showing, Not Telling

Forget the phrase "Keep your eye on the ball." Why? Because the first time most a kid hears it, he (or she) has no idea what you're talking about. Instead, show him how to hit a baseball with these 6 steps:

  • Stand a few feet away and tell your kid to look at the ball.
  • Move toward him with the ball in your hand while continually instructing him to keep looking at the ball. (This way, he'll learn to track it.)
  • When you approach the strike zone, tell him to slowly try to hit the ball with the bat.
  • Go back to the starting point, then toss the ball into the strike zone and allow him to swing.
  • Review what he did well and give him instruction for improvement.
  • Repeat.

More: 6 Ways to Teach Your Child to Be Active For Life

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