You can’t escape them; their eyes are watching your every move!
Whether we’re talking on the phone, making their school lunches, driving the car – there they are soaking up everything we say and do.
As parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, teachers and role models, we need to be mindful about the message our actions and words are sending to the children in our care.
Research shows that children who grow up in an active household are much more likely to continue exercising throughout their lifetime.
With Australia’s obesity rate continuing to grow at an alarming rate, regular activity during early childhood not only impacts on immediate health outcomes but also form good foundations for later years.
As role models, we have a wonderful opportunity – and responsibility – to empower children in our care to make healthy choices, and the most effective way that to do that is to lead by example. Monkey see, monkey do!
Put simply, if children see you being physically active, and enjoying yourself in the process, chances are they will want to be active too.
One thing I have learnt while running Livelyhood dance programs is that children love to share the experience with others, especially their role models. Being active together not only ensures a healthy future for your family but also forms a powerful bond that lasts a lifetime.
As the ancient proverb says, ‘Great acts are made up of small deeds’. Don’t push the panic button, just KISS (Keep it Simple Silly!).
This can be as simple as walking to the farmers markets, growing and cooking your own food, going to the park as a family, walking the dog, riding your bikes to the shops, or even putting on some music in the morning to have a dance – every little bit makes a big difference in a child’s life.
The 2004 Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations for Children suggest that children aged 5-18 years need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
Here are some great ideas to get you on your way:
- Play sport as a family – kick around a soccer ball after school, play a game of backyard cricket, jump around in the pool, or create an obstacle course
- Organise an activity party – schedule a bowling party, take the kids to a climbing wall, or book a dancing or sports party. For ideas, see Livelyhood’s children’s dancing parties – www.livelyhood.com.au/parties
- Explore the great outdoors – take a long walk along the beach, visit a National Park, or go to a playground in a nearby suburb
- Get the kids involved – ask them to choose an activity for the day or week. Make sure you remain excited and passionate about the activity they choose!
- Plan a family disco – every Friday night a friend of mine puts up a disco ball so the whole family can have their own private party. Love this idea!
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. Take the first steps today to build a healthier future for our children and us!
Healthy, Active, Happy: That’s the Livelyhood way of Living!