"When I grew up, we used to play outside."
"These kids just sit behind a screen all day."
"Childhood obesity is on the rise, and we keep taking p.e. away."
"When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was go outside."
Yada yada yada...ok but really?
If childhood obesity is on the rise, who is to blame? The school system? Technology? Our culture?
I say we as parents, should take a hard look at ourselves.
Before I had kids, it occurred to me that childhood inactivity could be a result of parents not giving kids direction. I would hear, "Wait until you have kids. You'll see." Now I have kids and I see. I believe this much stronger now, than before I had kids.
In the youth fitness industry, we hear a lot of concern for kids being inactive or eating unhealthy. Upon further discussion, statements tend to be made blaming kids for their eating habits or activity level. This is a call to parents and guardians. PLEASE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Be aware, it won't be easy.
Here are a few questions that come up and an appropriate response.
Parent: My kid won't eat vegetables.
Response: Do you eat vegetables?
Parent: My kid just wants to play inside.
Response: Do you play outside? With your kid?
Parent: If I don't give them Fried Nuggets and French Fries, they wouldn't eat anything.
Response: Oh really? They'll starve to death? (Assume sarcasm)
One of the most noticeable things about children is their seemingly innate ability to mimic those around them. As we begin to consider the affects of inactivity and poor nutrition habits for our kids, we also have to consider the role our behavior patterns played.
How do you affect change in your little ones after you've allowed your behavior patterns to have such a negative affect?
Willingly make the same changes you expect them to make. If you want your young offspring to start eating vegetables, YOU will have to make vegetables available, and undesirable alternatives less available. If you want your kids to be more active, YOU will have to be active with them or around them.
We spent a lot of time on our actual behavior, but one of the most important aspects is making sure we're SUPPORTING their behavior, not acting in fear or disgust of your current situation.
Statements in fear and their supportive alternatives:
Parent: You need to eat your vegetables. You heard what the doctor said.
Alternative: Let's go to the store and see if we can find something we haven't tried before.
Parent: Get off your tablet...YOU HAVEN'T MOVED ALL DAY!
Alternative: I'm headed for a walk, I want to talk to you about something. Will you come with me? (Just ask how their day went.)
As parents, we want what's best for our kids. When it comes to physical activity, healthy eating and wellness, many of our kid's habit are enabled by us as parents. We buy sweet cakes and expect our kids to say no. (Why would they?) We buy them fast food when we could cook. We give them entertainment when we should play with them. There will be times when those things are o.k. but when it comes to the wellness of our children, we have to take note as to when we should pick up the responsibility.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he old, he will not depart from in.--Proverbs 22:6