I read the results of a new poll conducted by the University of Michigan which stated that parents’ greatest concern about their child’s health is “lack of exercise.” Childhood obesity topped last year’s list, and the lack of physical exercise wasn’t even on it.
While we are all aware that physical exercise is critical in addressing childhood obesity, it is refreshing to hear that parents are grasping the importance of physical activity in relation to other areas of development. Matthew Davis, director of poll, said in a statement, “Childhood obesity remains a top concern, and adults know it is certainly linked to lack of exercise. But exercise offers many more benefits than just weight loss or preventing obesity — such as better attention and learning in school and improved sense of well-being.”
There are issues in our society today that we cannot control. There are issues that society imposes on us as parents, and we just grimace and wish we could turn back time to a better day. However, increasing the level of your child’s physical activity is an attainable goal — start today!
Here are some real ways you can begin ensuring that you replace that concern with action.
- Change your mentality when looking for a place to park on EVERY errand. We are so conditioned to make sure that everything is convenient that we will waste 10 minutes circling a lot. If we would park at the back and walk to the store each time, we would improve our lives.
- Walk anywhere you can. Create adventures for your child. Don’t make exercise a chore – foster the mindset that it is fun to be active. Start with simple activities like taking the stairs, standing instead of sitting, and replacing normal activities with ones that expend energy whenever possible.
- Have your child sit on a yoga ball and bounce up and down if she is allowed to watch a TV show. A child will do this naturally when you give her the opportunity to do so.
- Keep a log, if necessary, to ensure that your child is getting enough exercise each day. You must be purposeful about planning and achieving a goal when something is this important. Plan active times for your child just like you plan ways to meet his other critical needs.
- Be intentional about planting the right idea in your child’s mind about physical exercise. Most of us do not dread eating. We understand that without food, we die. We find food that we enjoy and do not torture ourselves by sitting down to foods that we hate. We work hard to develop a healthy appetite for foods that are good for us. We must take this same approach to exercise. There are activities that we are never going to enjoy. Focus on activities that you like or ones that you and your child can develop a healthy appreciation for. Don’t make your child do something he hates. Keep working until you find activities that are enjoyable and fun. The idea is to build activity into your lifestyle and find ways to ENJOY moving.
You can replace the worry with action! Get moving today…let’s find what will motivate our children to action!
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.