Ali Fraser, CEO of the company Fraser Behavioral Health and autism mom

This spring, I encourage you to take action as a family. As parents, we need to introduce and prioritize healthy lifestyles for our neurodiverse family members. Our children watch us and imitate our choices, good and bad. When we model fun with physical activity, our children are more likely to adopt these strategies and stay active throughout their lives. Staying active during the winter months is difficult. The winter weather has finally broken, and there’s no better time to start a new family tradition.

Benefits of daily exercise

Daily physical activity has been shown to improve mood, increase focus, and reduce challenging behaviors. Moderate to vigorous activity brings immediate benefits. Exercise for people of all ages increases our ability to focus and think clearly. Regular physical activity can reduce anxiety in children and adults and help protect against depression. And parents, you’ll really appreciate this benefit…regular exercise can improve your child’s sleep! This means that regular exercise is especially important given that people with neurodivergence tend to have trouble falling asleep. In addition, regular moderate to vigorous exercise is associated with falling asleep faster, sleeping more deeply, and waking up refreshed. Finally, regular exercise can reduce the need for medications that regulate sleep or mood.

Find out what’s right for your child and family

When determining how much exercise is appropriate for your child, consult your child’s doctor. Most research shows that we should aim for moderately intense exercise, about 30-45 minutes, at least five times a week. There are many fun ways to get those minutes of exercise. A teenager or young adult may prefer walking in metro parks or swimming as a family. Children and adults of all ages often enjoy spontaneous dance parties, backyard kickball games, or community sports. Kids are more likely to stay active when they’re having fun, so look for ways to incorporate a special interest too! If your child loves zoo animals, maybe a trip to the zoo is a good place to start.

Consistency is key and celebrate the wins

Hold on! On average, it takes two months for a new behavior to become a habit or a way of life. In the first few weeks, you may experience some resistance from your baby as he develops a tolerance for physical activity. However, by modeling a positive attitude toward physical activity and rewarding effort as parents, we build resilience in our children. Exercise itself can be a challenge, albeit a good one, and overcoming that challenge helps us continue to grow.

Reward your children’s successes, both big and small. Give them verbal praise for being active. Brag to your teachers, grandparents, cousins ​​(anyone really!) about how healthy they are becoming. Perhaps you could make a sticker chart to display on the fridge to show all the days of the month when your child did at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. Then consider going on a special outing like a canoe or train ride to fill 80% of your days with stickers. Whatever you choose, have fun with the whole family!

Are you, your family, a child, or someone you know interested in receiving individualized evidence-based therapy? Contact Alli Frazier Frazier Behavioral Health, a person-centered behavioral health clinic that helps children and adults with behavioral, social, communication, and sensory challenges at Frazier Behavioral Health also recently received Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health accreditation.

Can’t get enough of Ask Alli? Check out previous Ask Alli segments on the Cleveland Scene website by clicking here and watch the latest Ask Alli TV segment on

Previous articleDisney Plus and Hulu will be available in the same app in the US
Next articleNew economic data from the US signal that inflation is easing