Today is the last day of our Fit Kids for Summer Series! Have you enjoyed it? Drop us a comment and let us know what your favorite post was, or share on our Facebook page a picture of you and your kids getting fit together!
Today I’m going to share with you my ideas on how to lead your kids toward a healthier lifestyle by your own example. But first, here are the links to all of the posts from our awesome series. Many thanks go out to our awesome guests who contributed!
Summer Bucket List from Hillary
10 Exercises from Your Childhood from Andie at Maybe I Will
Proper Nutrition for Your Kids from Evi at Eyeliners and Erasers
25 Ideas to Keep the Kids Active from Samantha at Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Summer Explorers from Michelle at My Two Seasons and Love That Shot
5 Ideas to Help You Lead by Example by Kandice
If you are anything like me, a large part of your summer turns into “go do this” and “go do that”, rather than “let’s do this” or “let’s do that.” As parents, many of us tend to follow the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” We say we want our kids to be fit and healthy, but we don’t lead by example. Even those who are trying to become more fit and workout, we tend to do it either away from the kids at a gym, or after the kids are in bed (or before they wake up) so we don’t have to deal with them climbing all over us and taking our attention away from the workout. For a lot of moms, working out is not only our stress reliever, but our chance to have some peace and quiet!
I won’t lie, I’m guilty of the same thing. However, there are plenty of times where I don’t get the workout done in the morning and I know I won’t have time in the evening, so I have to squeeze it in during the day. I end up with toddlers climbing over or under me and big kids crowding into my little space to do the workouts with me.
But you know what? Wow! What an amazing thing to see your kids get off the couch and do a workout with you! My seven-year-old son had more than once done enough of one of our workouts to actually be sweating and breathing heavily.
My eight year old daughter (notoriously lazy like her mama) loves to do her own workout when she has the living room to herself, and she will do the entire 40 minute Tony and the Kids program. The whole thing! Smiling the whole time.
My four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son can do a MEAN downward dog. 😉
So here are a few ideas to help you teach your children to live a more fit lifestyle…leading by example!
5 Ideas to Help You Lead by Example
1) Let them join your workouts! Make workout time a family event by clearing space and bringing the kids in the room with you. Yeah, yeah, you don’t have enough space. You should see my living room. 😉 Shove the couches into the kitchen (yes, I’ve done it!) and just make room for the kids. No, it won’t be the best workout you’ve ever had, and yes, you might decide to get in an extra, more intense workout after bedtime. But your kids will be seeing you put exercise at the top of your list of priorities, and they will be doing the same. When your son invite a friend over and talks him into doing P90X rather than playing with Legos, you’ll know it’s working. 😉
2) USE your kids in your workouts! My husband will often have whichever kid is closest to him help push him deeper into a stretch. Occasionally, he’ll grab somebody and bench press them rather than using the weights. Hilarity ensues every time. For myself, I usually have my kids grab the camera so I have something new to post for my followers.
3) Share! Many who are working on becoming more fit are also incorporating healthy products into their nutrition. For me, it’s Shakeology, and my kids LOVE these shakes! My two-year-old will come running through the house if he heard the blender going, and he won’t give me a moment’s peace until I either share with him or make him one of his own.
How many of you buy protein shakes? Granola bars or fresh produce? And how many of you hoard the healthy stuff and give the cheap food to the kids? Yes, healthy food can sometimes be more expensive. But is that little extra bit out of your grocery budget really worth the bad habits you’re teaching your kids? If they are raised on cold cereal and boxed dinners, they’re going to grow up loving that type of food and find it very difficult to change their eating habits when their metabolism finally slows. Teach them the healthy habits now while they’re willing and you’ll reap the rewards later.
4) Challenge them! When you’re out and enjoying other activities, challenge the kids occasionally to what we call “Feats of Strength.” Randomly call out that you want them to do ten push-ups or twenty jumping jacks. Or ask who can do the most jumping jacks in a minute. See who can hold a plank longer or do the best Warrior 3 pose. Ask them to show you their muscles after a workout or Feat of Strength and be sure to praise them for all their hard work.
We like to go for hikes or walks as a family, and sometimes just with friends. Our oldest son likes to be the leader and he likes to lead…from a distance. 🙂 He’s fast and has no patience waiting for the little ones to keep pace. If he’s getting too far ahead of the group, we’ll call out to him to drop and give us ten, do twenty jumping jacks, or something similar. It’s always enough to get a little of that energy out while we’re all catching up, so that he’s better able to stick to our pace for a few minutes. All the while, he feels like The Man, and we’re sure to tell him that he is indeed The Man. 🙂
5) Local events. There are so many local events that can help you keep your kids active! Are you a runner? Take your older kids with you for a 5K, even a color run if you can! My son was SO excited when I let him join me for this run, and he was a rockstar! He started out strong and was mad that I wouldn’t let him go ahead of me. About halfway through he just wanted to be done, but we pushed through together. He was so tired, but he kept going. When we got to the end, there were crowds of people lining the path, cheering on the runners. I told him “Look at all those people cheering for you! Let’s finish it strong and give them something to cheer about.” He immediately picked up the pace and ran the last few hundred yards, with tons of people reaching out to high-five him and tell him how awesome he was. What an amazing experience for a young boy! To have so many people apparently adoring you for your strength…he’s already begging me for another.
There you have it. Hopefully, you’ll agree that letting the kids see you workout is something that will benefit them for a long time to come. It doesn’t matter one bit if your own fitness goals are slowed a little by the children. What you will be measuring is their own talent, skill, self-confidence, and health. And they will indeed amaze you and everyone around them with their dedication and enthusiasm, which in turn will encourage you to continue with your own workouts. Now, get off the computer and go workout!
*If you would like to know more about the workout program I show above called Tony and the Kids, click on the image for more information. Another program is also available for kids called Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club. This one is awesome too, with Shaun T teaching the kids how to dance (and getting their exercise in the meantime). Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!