Last Updated on May 11, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
For those who have children, fitness is more important than merely slimming down your waist. It can be a valuable lesson to teach the kids as they grow into adults. The habits they learn now will influence how they develop. And their most prominent source for this information is you. While it’s possible the children could develop with a healthy background although you’re not, most children will take their cues from the parent.
The Kids Will Copy Your Activity
For the most part, children want to be just like the parents. Everything you do can be seen in the actions of your children. As soon as I started lifting weights, my 11 and nine-year old daughters decided they wanted to lift as well. I’m not adverse to the idea if they want to build some strength, but they have a hard time lifting the 10-pound dumbbells. The point is, they did it without me uttering a word to them.
What’s Good For the Goose…
On average, children who have parents that are not active and watch TV all day will do the same as they develop. Although the parent could always order the child to go out and play, chances are the kid will grow up to be just like Mom and Dad. Not only is it a good idea to get up and add a bit of physical activity to improve your health, statistically it will improve the health of your kids as well.
…Is Good for the Gander
When you start the ball rolling, you may see how the children adopt their own physical activity. Over time, you may notice how they are more likely to play outside than to turn on the television or computer. As long as you’re there to keep the ball rolling, your kids could develop greater athletic prowess. Or at least, stop from becoming part of the statistics for obesity by the CDC.
Schedule Some Time
Schedule some play time with your children every day. Take the game outside and get a bit of movement going. Not only will this help everyone burn off some calories and improve stamina and muscle development, but it will also help in bonding. The more you interact with the children, the greater the connection on an emotional level. The little ones need to know you are there for them regardless of their health.
The Kids will Adapt Your Eating Habits
One of the biggest impacts you’ll have on your children is that of eating habits. If you eat poorly, there is a great chance your kids will as well. Usually, this is done at your regular meal time. However, snacking on cookies all day long can influence your children’s decision about proper ways to live as an adult. By demonstrating you’re willing to eat healthier, the little one’s can change their mind about food. It’s all centered around how you view food if you want the kids to make better decisions when it comes to eating.
Offer Snack Alternatives
Snacking is a major problem for many households…including mine. We still keep a few of the tasty sugary goods around, but we’ve also replaced a lot of it with healthier alternatives. Oranges, apples and string cheese are some of the favorites around the house. Children think they are constantly hungry. Many of them might be as their metabolism develops and they go through growth spurts. The trick is to fill the house with something that is more conducive to health. For the most part, my girls often choose the health foods over the sugar stuffs.
Spend Less Time Dining Out
At the moment, dining out is a luxury we simply cannot afford. It’s far cheaper to whip up something at home than to pull up to the drive through window. Unfortunately, many households use things like McDonald’s as a regular staple for eating. This creates the mind set that it’s OK to use Mickey Ds as your own personal chef. Not only is eating at home far healthier, but it will cut vastly into your monthly spending. A dollar menu may sound tempting until you realize all of the costs that are involved, such as driving to the restaurant in the first place.
The Kids Will Assume Your Mannerisms and Behaviors
Kids will adopt your mannerisms and behaviors regarding almost any subject. They are greatly influenced by your perception of the world and will assimilate your actions toward various circumstances. If you view exercise and healthy eating poorly, the chances are they will as well. If you want the children to make better choices, you need to start with how you act around them.
Don’t Force the Issue
One trick I’ve found with my daughters is that they will follow what I do most of the time without forcing the issue. If I go outside, they usually follow without question – if anything, just to see what I am doing. When you try to force children to behave a certain way, it can cause further behavioral problems. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I have to lay down the law. However, taking more of a psychological approach has been far easier on me to inspire healthy mannerisms and improved behaviors. This doesn’t just work for fitness, either. Kids don’t need to be controlled, they need to be guided.
Change Your Mind About Fitness
If you adapt a better attitude towards fitness, it can impact the kids as well. You don’t want it to seem like a chore. This can give the wrong impression. In fact, fitness doesn’t have to be a chore with the right mind set and plan. Personally, I use it as more of a game. I like to score points on sites like Exercise.com. Most of the Xbox games we have in the house are for the Kinect – because we love household competition. There are many ways you can implement fitness into your life without feeling miserable. If you have fun with it, the kids will as well.
The younger generation has too many ways to remain lazy in their lifestyles. Gaming consoles, mobile technology, the Internet and other gizmos take away some of the activity in everyday life. Now, all of these aren’t necessarily bad. It’s the mindset of relying on them too often for engagement. Set a good example for the kids and demonstrate why physical activity and healthy eating are such important practices. You may just impact their views for the rest of their lives.