Chicago Suburban Family


6 Ways to Raise an Active Kid

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There is a sport for everyone. Unfortunately, many American kids don’t get an opportunity to discover whether it’s soccer or baseball; tennis or swimming; rowing or running that they love. With video games and virtual life taking over so much of childhood parents have to make an extra effort to help their kids develop an active lifestyle and find the sport that will have them gladly turning off the computer and powering down the phone.


In her new book, ALL IS WELL, Marilynn Preston, the author of America’s longest running fitness column, shares 6 of the best ways to raise an active kid.

  • Be positive. If you can’t say something nice during a game, say nothing at all. Or stay home. You’re the parent, not the coach. Your job is to be supportive, encouraging, unconditionally loving. Keep your comments positive. Let go of the negative. Give your kid credit for showing up, for working well with her teammates, for being a good sport. These qualities are a thousand times more important to your kid’s future well-being than the final score of the game.
  • Focus on fun. If you want your kids to relax and enjoy sports, you have to relax and enjoy watching. If you get upset and unruly, so will they. All the experts agree: The quickest way to kill a kid’s interest in sports is to overemphasize winning. It’s a game! The real victory is for your kid to feel comfortable and happy chasing a tennis ball or swinging a bat. Kids who are made to feel unworthy on the field take that insecurity into adulthood. It’s not pretty.
  • Praise the effort in spite of the outcome. If your kid’s team wins the game, bravo. But if your youngster is on the losing side, you need to offer empathy, not criticism. Recognize the loss, but don’t dwell on it. The teachable moment is not about the value of winning but the value of resiliency. If you can develop that nothing-can-defeat-me spirit as a kid, being an adult gets a whole lot easier. Instead of dwelling on the loss, shift your kid’s focus to something positive. Ask: What was the best part of the game?
  • Be available. Your behavior on game day is important, but a winning attitude at home counts, too. Do less talking and a lot more listening to your kid’s experience. Don’t judge. And don’t box them in to playing soccer just because you grew up with posters of Pele in your room. Go join an adult soccer league and let your kids figure out what they love. Roller skating? Irish dancing? Trampoline? Cave diving?
  • Stay above the fray. Sometimes fights erupt at a game, in the stands, on the field. Stay out of it. Don’t abuse the refs or boo the other team. Stay cool, take a few calming breaths, and eat some apple slices till the argument blows over. It’s also unwise to be critical of a coach in front of your kids. It you’ve got a question or complaint, take it up privately.
  • Keep your eye on the prize. Research shows that most kids play sports to have fun, improve their skills, and socialize with their friends. Winning isn’t as big a deal to kids as it is to adults. A much bigger deal is having your daughter or son feel good after the game. Fake praise won’t do it. Kids are smarter than that. If you parent with positive feedback and compassion when it comes to sports, your kid is much more likely to grow up enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle. And that’s the real goal, isn’t it?


Rock ‘n’ Kids!
Song and dance, rhythm and rhyme, join the fun for a rockin’ good time! Tot Rock and Kid Rock are structured music and movement programs that focus on imaginative play, sensory integration, fine and gross park districts in the Chicagoland area. New sessions starting in September and October! motor movements, rhythm skills and socialization, while utilizing a variety of rhythm instruments and movement props. Classes offered at for more info.

Wheeling Park District
Wheeling Park District Swim School

Learning to swim is about safety, confident and exercise with a lot of fun thrown in. Our Swim School focuses on the skills everyone needs to be safe in and around water along with basic swim strokes. We offer affordable pricing plus every class ends with free time in the fantastic Arctic Splash pool located at 333 W. Dundee Rd., Wheeling. Learn more at or call 847-465-3333.

Bartlett Park District
Splash Central Indoor Aquatic Center

Take a wild ride at Splash Central and experience a New Way to Play! Amenities include a six-lane, 25-yard, 3.5 to 12 foot depth lap pool, One meter diving board, a zero-depth entry activity pool ranging from zero to 3.5 foot depth, body slide, kiddie slide and water spray features. Available for year-round swim lessons, private rentals, group outings, birthday parties, fitness classes, special events and much more. Located in the Bartlett Community Center at 700 S. Bartlett Rd., Bartlett, IL 60103. For hours of operation and more information call 630.540.4800 or visit

Great Lakes Center Youth
Volleyball Academy

The GLCYA is accepting girls and boys ages 2-14 for the Great Lakes Center Youth Volleyball Academy Fall, Club, Winter and Spring programs. All sessions focus on motor development and individual skill development by teaching both proper skill technique and introducing the young athlete to age appropriate game play as well for volleyball. We are also offering fall/winter clinics and lessons for all ages.  The Great Lakes Volleyball Center is located at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive, Aurora, IL. 60502. For more info call 630-898-6400 or visit FB: Great Lakes Center Youth Academy


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