How do you help your kids develop a healthy relationship with movement?
For a chunk of my life, movement was about burning calories. It was about controlling my weight. It was about competition, mostly with myself. And it was a punishment for eating. Movement gave me a high, yes, but there was no actual joy in it.
FYI: the slavery I had to movement was not put on me by anyone else but me. It’s not my parent’s fault – it was my own habits and desires and striving.
God set me free 2 years ago, and it’s been the BEST ride. I can honestly say that MOST days, I really enjoy moving. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get there b/c of LIFE, 😉 but once I get going and stay rooted in my WHY, it is pure JOY even when it’s HARD!
So how do you help your kids along the way?
- Make family movement a priority. We started Sunday family movement time several years ago, and it’s now something my kids actually look forward to! They beg to even just go for a walk together because it’s FUN and we are TOGETHER.
- Less screen time equals more movement time! The less screens are offered/used, the more opportunity there is for movement. My kids naturally move as they play outside or inside. I really believe we are CREATED to enjoy moving!!
- Don’t talk about moving in terms of a diet, burning calories, or a “have to.” These immediately send red flags and instill a different perspective on why we move. If your kids start associating your movement with weight loss, they will begin to believe that that is the ultimate goal of the movement.
- Have FUN. Do you know why we become less agile as we age? Because we stop doing silly things. My little girls skip wherever they go. They climb trees and put their bodies in crazy positions on monkey bars. Yes, our bodies are going to age, and yes we have to be smart with aging joints, but you guys, we lose what we don’t use. So stop taking yourself so seriously. Play hopscotch. Jump on the trampoline. Go down the slide. Swing. Skip with your kids! Play Simon says. When we have fun with them, we show them that movement is just a part of normal life – it’s not something that we do as an “extra” thing specifically for losing weight, burning calories, or punishment.
- Show them that movement can bring glory to God. When we enjoy the gift God created, we bring glory to His Name. When we celebrate what our bodies can do, and the ability to do it, we worship Him. Point these things out and help them focus on Him vs. how they feel. When my kids start to complain on a hike, we start pointing out the beautiful creation and that we can be thankful for legs that move and lungs that breathe.
Our kids can grow up differently. They can have a different perspective. You can be the start of a change in your family. And you can teach your kids how to enjoy movement not just as a child, but as a lifelong activity they’ll love.