Every mom wants her kids to be healthy. But how do we teach them to exercise if we aren’t showing them? Often moms will not make their movement a priority because they don’t have childcare. Don’t let your kids be a barrier to getting your workouts in!
Five Reasons Why Your Kids Need to See You Exercise
1. What kids see, kids will do
I think it goes without saying. But I still have to say it. Whatever we do, our kids will mirror us. Have you ever heard the phrase: Monkey see, monkey do? From a young age, my kids have loved getting involved in what I’m doing. They weren’t the most helpful with their version of sorting laundry. If they tried feeding the cat, I almost always had to clean the floor after. Out of all these activities, exercise was one that I encouraged the most. It doesn’t stop them from getting in the way, of course. But having them around when I was exercising was a great way to show them it was important for mommy to take care of her body. I even bought them their yoga mats and foam weights so they could get involved!
2. You’ll have your own cheerleader
Negative self-talk is so common. It occupies 80% of our thoughts. Have you noticed that when we constantly praise our kids for doing something, that it starts to come out of their mouths too? Has your kid ever praised you for doing a good job on the potty? Sometimes to get my kids involved, I asked them to give me points. They can just shout any random number and give me points for whatever exercise I’m doing. Having them cheer me on is an excellent example of positive words they can associate with movement. You can also add in a few high fives!
3. You’ll be setting them up on the road to health
In 2007, we received a staggering statistic that said that this is the first generation of children that will not outlive their parents. In the last 30 years, our eating and unhealthy lifestyles have dramatically increased childhood Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other things that children should not be experiencing. Showing our kids that moving their bodies is healthy and essential now will be embedded in their brains and carry forward the rest of their lives. Make an effort to point out healthy behaviour rather than unhealthy behaviour. For example: Instead of telling your kids they have to get up and not be lazy, praise them for something they did right: “Wow! Did you just climb that big hill all by yourself? Your legs are getting so strong! Great job!”
4. You’re an example of time and resource management
The number one reason adults don’t take care of their health is time and money. I challenge them to look at their calendar and their bank accounts and tell me where their time and money are going.
The reality is that most of us grew up seeing an example of how to manage our time between work, play, and rest. Our health fits in all of these categories. We need to set aside time every day to move our bodies and prepare food. We need to make the time to sit down and eat a meal rather than always eating on the go. When our kids see that we spend Sunday afternoons chopping vegetables or walking the dog after dinner instead of watching Netflix, they are more likely to carry it on themselves. Think of a time of day you could consistently do a healthy activity that involves your kids. They could help wash produce, fill water bottles, go for a walk or join you for evening yoga.
5. You are teaching them to love themselves
If there’s one self-realization that I’ve learned in the last decade, it’s that when I love myself, I take better care of myself. By setting time aside for our health, we show them that we are a priority. Before being a mom or a wife, I had only one title: “me”. More than anything, I want my kids to be happy and healthy. By showing them that making time for yourself is a priority, you’re telling them that they are essential. By keeping themselves fit and strong, they will be happier. They will be better citizens of this world and better able to serve humanity in whatever occupation they choose or the direction they take.
The best way to encourage our kids to lead a healthy, active lifestyle is by doing it ourselves. The more opportunities we make to exercise in front of our kids, the more they will see the example. By seeing our example, they will know moving their bodies is part of life. When we show them how important it is to take care of our bodies, they understand they are important too. Make a plan to exercise in front of or with your kids this week!
Krysti Beckett lives in Burford, Ontario with her husband, 3 kids, and beloved family dog and cat. As a Plus-Size Fitness Professional, she is passionate about helping moms find easy ways to get healthy! Book a free call if you need some help getting started!