Formula For Fit and Well-Behaved Children
You’ve probably heard the saying popularized by Stephan Covey that when you are climbing a ladder it’s important to know that it is leaning against the right wall. The “right wall” for our children includes physical health, well-being and values that will guide them to make good choices and decisions. Athletics has long been looked up to as a character-building experience. Many people will sacrifice time and money to give their children the advantages of being involved in sports.
My own six children have been intensely involved in gymnastics and basketball as well as having exposure to swim teams, soccer, baseball, and track. I know all too well the pressure these sports can put on families as they build their schedules, free time and even meal times and vacations around them. I also know the pride of seeing them reach goals and feel successful.
There are also families that are not active in sports but know that exercise has many health promoting benefits. If this describes your family you may be looking for guidance in how to be active together as a family. The staggering rise of childhood obesity alerts concerned parents to be proactive where their young children’s health is concerned. Anyone would shudder to learn that the Center for Disease Control now estimates that half of all children and adolescents in the United States will be clinically obese by 2010. As a certified personal trainer I’ve worked with countless families as well as individuals to prevent this tragedy and I’d like to share my expertise with your family as well.
Make physical fitness a routine part of every day. Walk as much as you can. A simple fifteen minutes of well-chosen body weight exercises can be learned by children as young as four years old. They will love it if you do the exercises with them. The best part is these same exercises will keep you fit and trim if you pair them with sensible eating habits. Choosing lean meats and fresh fruit and vegetables over packaged and processed foods will go a long way in preventing excess weight. Drinking water rather than soda is another smart choice. Little changes over time will add up and you’ll be on your way to ensuring that your children are healthy and fit.
A systematic plan for also teaching your children character qualities such as truthfulness, orderliness, obedience and kindness will also enhance their happiness and self-esteem. In teachable moments simply explaining what these words mean will inspire your children to better behavior. One of the best times to do this is while the family is enjoying a walk or other fitness activity. Just a little thought about what you deem important for your children to know and a little effort to teach it each day will lead to children that everyone loves to be around, including you. Time well-spent now will reward you with years of problem free child rearing.