So yesterday, my wife brought home two wipe off "Exercise Record Wipe Boards" that were given to here from our local YMCA that we belong to. She thought that the kids might enjoy using them, so we gave them to both kids. I did not expect the response we got when we handed the boards to them. My daughter (age 10) immediately wrote down a goal for herself to be active 60 minutes a day (I guess she has been around me a lot lately as I am gathering content and developing this website) and added that she was going to go for a jog with my wife the next morning. My son (age 6) started jotting down all of the activities he did that day at his day camp. Both children then stuck the boards to our refrigerator. I thought it was very cute that they took the initiative to do this on their own (my wife simply handed them the boards) and I was a little bit proud to see that they decided to use the boards to increase their activity levels, yet didn't really think that much more would come of this. WOW, was I mistaken.
This morning after I returned from my jog, my wife was getting dressed saying that my daughter reminded her first thing after waking up ,that they had to go for a jog and both of them were preparing to do so. They left the house and I watched out the window to see how this was going to go. I'm not saying that I was pessimistic, but I didn't think the jog would last. My daughter jogged for 5 minutes before "her leg hurt" and returned home. At first, I wanted to kid her about only jogging for 5 minutes, but then I thought how focused she was on her goal to be active for 60 minutes each day. I said that I was very proud of her for going out for a run and that she could spread her 60 minutes of exercise out throughout the whole day. The 5 minute jog was only a part of it and that it was a good start to her day. She of course, immediately wrote down her activity on her white board and was happy with her performance.
The reason I am sharing this is that this goes to show how even the simplest motivational tool, in this case a free whiteboard handout, can get our children motivated to be active. My children spent the rest of the day writing down every activity they did to try to get to their 60 minute goal. I don't know how long this will continue, but it's very satisfying as a father (and PE teacher) to see my kids realize how important it is to be active and to take the initiative to be active without myself or my wife telling them to "go outside and do something".
Maybe this is something you can try at home; a plain white board would work just as well. Have your children record what physical activity they took part in throughout their day. I think that children enjoy the fact that they get to record what they have done, it is empowering to them. You can even use our "exercise calendar" to give them ideas as to what they can do to meet their 60 minutes of physical activity a day. I will see how long my kids continue to use their wipe off boards, but for now so far so good! Hopefully your child will be just as motivated as mine are to write down all they have done. Good luck!