Raising Healthy Children

Both my husband and I participated in sports growing up and throughout our adult lives exercise has remained a priority. So it’s a unique challenge for us that two of our three children have absolutely no interest in physical activities.

The positive thing is that they aren’t bound to a video gaming system or their electronic devices. Now, don’t get me wrong, they spend their fair share of time playing various games, but they are also very much into drawing, reading, writing and creating things out of old boxes. All of which I encourage them to do because I love to see where their minds take them and how their skills are growing.

On the other hand, I am challenged to get them physically active. I’m sure some of you can identify with this problem.

I’m fortunate enough to train and instruct classes designed to help my clients achieve better health. Some of them have been active all their life and thrive off of the ‘high’ that physical activity brings them. Whether it’s the sense of accomplishment, the release of stress, or the sheer joy of the activity, this type of person is upset when life gets in the way and keeps them from exercise.

But there’s another population that engages in personal training and takes classes – and those are the people who don’t really enjoy exercise at all, but are doing it because they know they have to. For this group, excuses can come a little easier, and in general a missed workout isn’t the end of the world.

For two of my three children, I fear that is who they will be as adults.

Healthy living starts in childhood.

Healthy living starts in childhood.

Let me pause here and make something very clear to you as my reader…
– I don’t expect my children to love fitness just because I do
– I do expect them to make healthy choices to live a balanced life
– I don’t push my children to participate in activities that aren’t of interest to them
– I do challenge them to try new things and push themselves in areas they enjoy

I think we can all agree that life is BUSY. Sometimes entirely more than we’d like it to be. When that happens, we must make choices, and more often than not those activities we find less desirable take a back seat. This isn’t limited to exercise, it can include preparing meals, cleaning the house, getting the laundry done…you name a task you don’t enjoy doing and I guarantee it’s one that’s easy to find an excuse to leave it for later.

I’m guilty of this. If you know me you know one thing that I hate most in life is cleaning glass shower doors! I would rather be stuck doing laundry for days than spend the 15 minutes it takes to clean that shower.

The point is, when time is limited we prioritize our activities based on the pleasure they give us.

So as parents of inactive children it’s so important that we encourage our children to try as many new activities as possible.

Maybe organized sports isn’t their thing, but what about going for a walk or taking a bike ride. Your both getting active and this is an excellent time to connect about what is going on in your child’s life.

Or find a way to engage them in an activity you enjoy…my husband goes boxing twice a week and takes two of our kiddos to Ju Jitsu classes which they both love (even the kiddo who hates being active).

Think back to your last hotel stay…what do the kids want to do the minute you check in? Head to the pool! Find a place that they can go swim.

Don’t discount the video games that require active movement. We’ve spent many nights looking like fools dancing and playing a variety of sport games with our Kinect. Even the kiddos who don’t like playing traditional sports are up for a virtual foot race, volleyball game or boxing match.

It’s possible that getting them active might require a bit of investment. I was fortunate to come across a great deal on a treadmill so my oldest daughter now picks her favorite episode of Friends or Everybody Loves Raymond and hops on to get some steps.

Bottom line is that it’s my job to help them find something they like. If they don’t find an activity of choice while growing up, life is likely to get in the way and rather than exercise being a pleasurable experience, it’s going to be something they dread.

We focus on making sure that our children get a good education and have solid moral values, let’s also equip them to live a healthy life.

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