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The Do’s and Don’ts of Exercise for Children

Do's and don'ts of exercise for kids according to Smart Parenting author David WalshIt’s important to raise active kids who move their bodies every day, but it’s also important to make physical activity fun—not a chore to be endured, says David Walsh, Ph.D., author of Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids: The One Brain Book You Need to Help Kids Grow Brighter, Healthier, and Happier.


  • Make sure your child plays and exercises every day.
  • Talk to your child about the connection between moving muscles and building brains.
  • Encourage a variety of movement to build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Get started with family exercise time.
  • Have fun.
  • Give your child household jobs that work muscles.
  • Check the amount of exercise or playtime your child gets at school and in after-school programs.
  • Encourage your kids to dance to music.
  • Try wearing a pedometer to increase steps each day.
  • Make sure sedentary activity is balanced with exercise and movement.
  • Try video games that make your child move.
  • Turn electronic screens off when the weather turns warmer.
  • Connect your child with the outdoors.


  • Don’t make exercise a workout chore.
  • Don’t force a child to join a sports team.
  • Don’t let screen time crowd out exercise and playtime.
  • Don’t let your child get out of shape.
  • Don’t stress your child by expecting physical performance beyond their ability or age.


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