If you want your children to prioritize fitness, you’ll need to do the same. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

There seems to be no end to the deluge of electronic gadgetry these days.

Every direction we turn, there’s a screen of one sort or another—smartphone, television, computer, tablet—vying for our attention.

When it comes to children, this phenomenon is even more conspicuous. The new generation of youngsters is submersed in a relentless stream of mesmerizing technology.

In this environment, physical activity can sometimes be a tough sell.

We’ve long known about the benefits of fitness to the growth and development of children, but many parents still find themselves struggling to convince their children to swap the remote control for a baseball glove.

In this case, the old adage is true: Action is stronger than words.

Parents can do more than just encourage physical activity—they can model the right behaviors.

Even parents who work long weeks can make the most of their time. Children should be able to look forward to the one or two days each week when the afternoons are dedicated to family time and activities.

By setting children up to learn a new sport on family days, kids can spend the rest of the week trying to master the activity while the parents are at work. This way, they can enjoy a new activity whether they’re alone or with others.

Follow these simple guidelines to set your family up for fitness success:

  • Make it a family event. Active family time doesn’t just reinforce the importance of physical activity—it’s also an exciting opportunity for your children to spend time with you.
  • Make it something they can do again and again. Try to stick to activities that don’t require a lot of setup or equipment. Don’t choose too many activities that involve traveling far from home. This way, it’s more affordable and it’s easier for you and your family to do it again.
  • Be careful about how you say “no.” There will certainly be times your children will want to be physically active, but for whatever reason the timing might not work for you. Just make sure that when you say you can’t do something, you aren’t discouraging their desire for physical activity. Give them an option for another activity on another day or time.