“Mamma, I just finished my homework. And I deserve my YouTube Kids time! NOW.”
What do you do when your children blurt a similar sentence out of accomplishment every day? Just hand over the gadget or plan something creative to get them engaged with play time that involves toys other than Play-Doh, Kitchen set or Lego?
Well, today as millennial parents, we don’t see a lot of kids playing on the streets right after getting home or perhaps even on weekends in the compound, Do we? So, has the current generation fitness gone for a toss?
Of course, in the present day, fitness for kids is formally more channelized. However, I could be stating that validly only when it’s bound by a framework of commercialization. Isn’t it? These fitness/sports coaches outside or collaborated entities with your child’s school do work fantastically. But isn’t there a way in which we, as parents, can have a crack at honing our children’s fitness & attitude towards sports with a more sustainable & easy approach?
We certainly CAN.
Do you know what is more essential than inculcating a healthy routine of fitness for kids? It’s the ‘fitness mindset’! This is something that they nurture & share ONLY with parents, grandparents & siblings. Hence, these are the folks in the family who play an instrumental role in shaping their attitude towards physical fitness & good health because children innately love to get INSPIRED not MENTORED.
When your child sees you only persuading him/her to concentrate on his learning & performance with a physical coach & not really living by example while giving out those precious sermons on “Why Fitness is so important for all of us” (though I may seem to be doing that to you right now, I do adhere to what I speak for 🙂 ), his/her mind gets into the denial/defiance mode. And why not? Who likes being plainly advised & instructed all the time?
Therefore, here are a few solid ways to imbibe the conviction of physical fitness & health in your children:
As illustriously the creative age-old adages have always told, kids are as impressionable as moist clay (or, say even the Play-Doh they play with! 😉 ) So, the best approach to get children geared into sports is to start young. How?
By letting them lots of FREE PLAY time. While I know most of us constantly cajole our wonder babies into eating sufficiently & healthy, still a very few of us seem to worry a lot if our kid is apparently ‘hyperactive’. Well, I’m not really fine when my child sleeps little & likes to spend way too much time playing. But indiscriminately forbidding her from enjoying play time because of that is definitely not okay.
Do not always conform your toddler to his/her play pen to get lost in the regular heap of toys you’ve got for her.
Free play, after all, helps children in mastering their first motor skills like no catchy or sophisticated toy can!
Minimize Screen-time & TV
With the culture of binge-watching Netflix & Amazon Prime, it wouldn’t be surprising if the mainstream TV became obsolete someday soon; isn’t it?
While a lot of us are disconnecting our basic DTH subscriptions, our addiction to web shows & movies is still quite overwhelming. So is the dependence of our little children on YouTube channels & their likes meant for kids.
No wonder smartphone addiction is such a real thing with that! And it only increases as you send them wrong signals when you decide to play some game with them on a ‘free’ evening & as soon as your phone beeps with a WhatsApp notification, you quickly go out to check it saying something as disappointing as a “Hey just a minute. I’ll be right back, okay?” 10 minutes past the thing as your kid comes to you again to ask you to continue the game, an irritated you blurts, “Wait. Don’t you see I’m BUSY?”
SIGH. It was supposed to be a FREE evening, right?
That’s how our kids deduce how important phones are for keeping us entertained & satisfied through the day. Very soon, you find your child getting sucked into the quick sand of screen-time. In no time, that totals to no good eating, no exercise & no studies too!
Hence, LIVE BY EXAMPLE.
Set yourself boundaries for using the phone beyond your work, especially if you’re a work-from-home mom/dad. Try as much to delegate your official work to other gadgets (like the laptop) to relegate the phone to minimal usage otherwise.
Go for walking/jogging together. Even if you guys can manage a stroll on the terrace after a dinner, it’s great.
No matter what your current health condition(s) & fitness levels, hook in a specific time slot daily for some exercise. Even doing some simple Yoga postures along with the children will inspire them big deal.
NOTE – To begin with, never call them to join you. Instead, work out when they’re around. Try some peppy music or some Zumba kind of tracks. They’re sure to beg you to join every time!
I started doing this as soon as my daughter was going to her kindergarten. We’ve also been lucky as her school also has a designated physical education team to coach the students age-wise including the concepts of Yoga as well.
Young kids grasp even complex physical moves quickly. To my surprise, I was startled to see how fast my kid had grasped the rapid burpee movements. Presently, if I skip my morning workout, I do that late in the evening & as I do, the little lady joins me till I have to ask her to stop.
Let them FREE
If your little one frowns at homework every day, don’t fret.
Do you have to yell or threaten your child against going out to play for not doing his/her homework?
Usually, if children don’t want to do their homework, they want to be doing something else. Like playing with buddies. So let them do so & set a time at which s(he) has to get back & finish the homework after a brief snack break.
This not only satiates their mood & fitness quota for the day, but also avoids any verbal spat with him/her over this daily affair anymore.
Reward. Victory or Not
Sports teach your child much more beyond the rules of the game & winning strategies.
They teach your child how to adjust with colleagues of different temperaments, bond with them while strategizing as a team, be in discipline (including the basic healthy diet & amount of required exercise), good habits, conquering jealousy & learning to accept failure & victory, both equally.
So, if your child is playing a match today, be his/her LOUDEST cheerleader! And no matter if s(he) wins or not, praise with full aplomb. Praise for the efforts that s(he) put into the match. Give out bear hugs!
More so, I personally despise the phrase, “Better luck next time”, as it only comes across as a stereotyped pacifier to a failure when the child is actually rooting for your satisfied & happy tone instead of this clichéd disappointment you try to hide in the sympathetic sentence.
When children fail, they know how to try differently to win the next time. All they need is your acceptance in such situations. Your advises will only make their disappointment worse & maybe dampen their confidence to play well the next time too.
What physical activities do you usually do along with your child? Is there any specific sport/game that he/she loves? Do let us know in the comments.