Physical fitness is important for everyone. It makes you healthier, gives you more energy and can improve your quality of life. The best way to turn exercise into a routine is to start encouraging your child on the spectrum to do physical fitness at school and at home. Outside of traditional physical education, encourage your child to join a sports team or, if team sports are not an option for your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, try finding fun activities they can do on their own.
Consistently making exercise part of a routine is important, but it is also important for your child on the spectrum to enjoy themselves while working out. Walking the dog, playing catch or summer swim time, are all great ways to get your child to go outside, get fresh air, get a light work out and most of all, have some fun!
Leverage the strengths your child on the spectrum has by encouraging them to do activities they enjoy. If they want to be part of a team, sign them up for soccer, baseball, or whatever sports they like. If they prefer to do something independently, recommend taking karate or swim lessons or maybe they prefer doing a family walk/run. Allow them tell you what activities will make them happy.
If your child on the spectrum doesn’t know what type of physical activity they prefer, or seems indifferent and would prefer not to do anything, maybe it’s because they haven’t found something that peeks their interests. Try introducing new possibilities to them. As a parent, it is important to expose your child to new activities through stories, movies, or sporting events.
Starting a new activity and committing to it, can be difficult for your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, so be persistent and set goals. Children like to feel like they have a goal to work towards. By setting realistic goals, children stay focused and strive to accomplish them in a set timeframe. Encourage your child to give a new sport a fair chance, so that they can truly see if they enjoy it or not.
Most importantly, be a role model. Your child looks to you as an example of what is good and what is bad. Don’t just tell them that being physically fit is important, show them. Children will learn the importance of setting a goal and sticking to it, when they see you do it. They will learn to try new activities and giving them a chance, from you. Set a good example for your children, it will help get them fit and will keep your family healthy, plus it’s a great way to spend quality time together.