A painful term to hear regardless of your age or gender.
But how about when it pertains to your children?
above a weight considered normal or desirable.
“Considered desirable?” Ouch. Nothing could make my son less desirable to me. Yet, because he was considered an overweight baby, maybe he was viewed as less than perfect to others? This is a hard thought to wrap my mind around. But that is the world we live in and a real struggle this country (and world) is facing. Data taken from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey showed that 33.4% of children aged two to nine are considered overweight in America. A third. A third of the kids in this country are growing up with less than stellar eating habits and little to no exercise plans day to day.
What can we do to change that?
1. Be the example
It may seem simple or obvious, but it is true. Kids are little copy-cats. They will mimic what you say and what you do whether you want them to or not. Go to a fast food place? Your mini is going to want something too. Go to the park? The little ones are sure to follow. Let the words that come from your mouth and the actions you preform each day be ones that you care to see repeated. It is true that they are little sponges, absorbing the world around them. What we do now will change who they are tomorrow. They will still have their own personality and make their own decisions as they get older. It is just our responsibility to try to steer them towards the best path to start off.
2. Make it fun
My son is currently four and he loves to learn new exercises. It is not because he loves working out (I mean, who actually likes doing that?) but it is because we use workouts in our play time. Every new workout he learns makes our play and outdoor time last longer. Race to the playground and then do ten jumping jacks. Climb up slides, jump off benches, balance on curbs, make a mini playground course and put your skills to the test. Incorporate burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, and more into each action you do together. It is guaranteed that you will be shocked by how much your little one can do when given a challenge. Get a calendar and a book of stickers (both of which can be found at a dollar store) and let your child earn a sticker for each day they do a form of exercise. Work together to come up with what the prize system will be. Example- so many stickers earns a movie, so many more is a dinner of choice, so many a month gets a toy, and so on.
3. Set goals
Give your kid something to reach for and a goal to ultimately accomplish. If you workout and exercise together regularly, you can both work towards a mud run or an obstacle course in the future. Many organizations host courses for adults as well as kids if they do not already offer a family friendly event. Find one local to where you live and set a date. Mark your calendar, set a timer, keep a countdown for your kids to be in charge of. Earning that first medal is all it takes to put a spark in their eyes and set off a new passion in their hearts. Encourage them to push their limits, surpass their goals, and consistently aim for the stars. Kids will reach a point where they do not need us to be there by their side, but they will never reach a point where they do not appreciate their cheerleader at the finish line.