It can be difficult for many children, even fit kids, to grasp concepts like the benefits of long-term fitness and health. You can tell them that the one mile walk they are doing today will help them stay strong when they’re thirty years old, but that’s too far away to think of for a ten year old. (Let’s be honest: most ten year olds don’t even think beyond the next day or their next birthday.)
According to a 2014 study by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, only one-third of children in America engage in physical activities daily. If you’re concerned about getting your child, or keeping your child, active, an activity tracker can help your children measure their health journey, while still having fun.
#1. Activity Trackers Turn Kid’s Fitness into a Game
Children’s brains (and, inherently, bodies) are hard-wired to play. Savvy parents and educators can turn exercise and physical activity into a game with a fitness trackers. Challenge the children to attain certain goals (for example, a certain number of steps per day). When they attain their goals, they get rewarded: just like in a game. Rewards can include new clothes, a new toy they’ve had their eyes on, or even a video game they can enjoy as a downtime treat.
#2. Kids Like New Technology
According to an article by the New York Daily News, “Many parents are seeing their little ones taking a sudden interest in wearable activity trackers.” While there are several reasons for this, the article points out that children are lured by wearables for the simple fact that they are cool and new. The same way children are attracted to your iPhone, tablet, or laptop, they are entranced by wearable new technology. A fitness tracker, in many ways, is another exciting new gadget to explore and conquer.
#3. Offer Peer Challenges for a Truly “Healthy Competition”
Children respond well to peer influence, and activity trackers can offer a healthy way for children to play and compete. Similar to seeing how many Pokemon the other children have caught, your child and their classmates and friends can compare how much more steps they’ve completed. As the parent or educator, you can use the tool to set group goals with a similar reward system to attaining those goals.
#4. Fitness Trackers Directly Demonstrate Cause and Effect
One of the most compelling reasons to try an exercise tracker in your child’s fitness routine is to show them the direct cause and effect of their actions. Even if a child does not care about the number they’re looking at in their activity tracker, they can still draw a causal conclusion about the effects of their work. For example, they can understand that attaining a certain number goal will equal a certain reward, or walking a certain number of steps per day will mean wearing a smaller pants size.
#5. Fit Kids Can See The Results of Their Hard Work in their Performance
Despite how much you can explain the health benefits of exercise, a child does not care about reducing their chance of getting heart disease or maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. They will care more about the fact they’re better at sports or able to play a vicious game of tag. With older children, you can explain that their physical performance is directly caused by their investment in their health. A fitness tracker gives them tangible proof that their performance is all due to their own efforts.
#6. Children are Curious About Themselves
Even if they don’t quite know what their activity numbers mean, children are aware that their fitness trackers are giving them information about themselves. Kids are curious about themselves, and this egocentricity makes them interested in their personal “stats.” The trackers allow fit kids to know when they’re most active, how much sleep they are getting, and more. While they might not know (or really care) about the long-term meaning of those status numbers, many children are fascinated at learning new things about themselves.
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