Behavioral Change: A Family Matter
In today’s blog post we will explore some ideas to make activity a fun part of your family’s daily routine. The only thing better than giving one child of pedometer to measure their daily activity is requiring the entire family to use one.
Not only does this normalize the use of a pedometer but it sets the stage for some friendly competition. Here are some examples where we can use pedometers as the device to not only increase physical activity but to decrease the use of screen time and break up a child’s day.
Suggestion 1: Have a daily contest for steps at dinner time.
At dinner each child and parent reports the number of steps they have that day. In a round-robin fashion, pedometers are presented and then reset at dinner time. The person with the least amount of steps is responsible for clearing the table and doing the dishes. Moms, dads, and all children are included in the contest.
Suggestion 2: Create a family movie night.
Create a family movie night where the person with the most steps gets to choose which movie is shown. An alternative situation would be a required number of steps must be taken before the entire family can watch the movie.
In the second situation, the family system is supporting the family member with the least amount of steps and encouraging them to engage in more physical activity so that they can have the family movie night.
Suggestion 3: Set a family step target for a special event.
A special event could be going to the beach, a special purchase, or even taking a vacation. Once the total number of steps from the family equals a set goal, the entire family is rewarded. In this way, brothers, sisters, moms, and dads all are encouraging each other to engage in physical activity and also ensuring they meet their minimum requirement as well.
All too often we find that the key to changing screen overuse habits is changing the family system. A culture shift in the family is often the best path forward. Not only do we need to set daily structure for each family member, family members also need to support and encourage each other to reach a targeted goal.