Erin Yarwood is not kidding when it comes to the benefits and importance of movement and mindfulness for children.
Ahoy there parents! Yes you! Sometimes life gets a little too serious, don’t you think?
Life is busy. We’re running here and there, trying desperately to get from A to B. Usually picking one child up from somewhere to then drop the other kid off someplace else. Barely having time to scratch our you-know-what, let alone take a breath!
Where’s that life buoy when you need it?
Especially this year…. It’s all a bit of a blur for us really.
And sometimes we can not only lose ourselves a little in the crazy haze, but often lose sight of the most beautiful
and important treasures standing oh so innocently right in front of us.
Our little ones.
The ones who look up to us. Absorb everything we do and hang off our every word (well, when they’re not ignoring us). It’s up to us to not only encourage our kids from a young age to be mindful and keep on moving, but we need to physically show them how and engrain a healthy and active lifestyle by leading by example and demonstrating from the get-go.
It’s not all about signing your kids up for this sport or that (which is awesome by the way) but we also need to ensure that they are staying active and healthy both physically and mentally. And quite simply, just having fun.
Exercise should never be a chore! Because kids, like us adults, will not form a healthy habit or routine by being forced. They need to want to do something. And once they find something that they like, that they are good at and makes them happy, they’re set.
I’m pretty lucky. I have been bringing my daughter Aluna (now aged three) to work with me every single day since she was seven weeks old. And she has been amazing since day one! I’d joke to clients along the way saying ‘she’s either going to love exercise, or hate it!’ and luckily she loves it! Phew. Every morning at the crack of dawn, the first thing she asks is if she can wear her activewear to work, which she wears quite proudly by the way! This makes me so happy. She’s even helping me teach classes now (let’s just say, I know people aren’t coming to my studio to see me!). This is a small example of learned and encouraged behaviour and habit.
I’m going to miss her next year when she ventures into the big wide world of kindy.
‘Fitness’ does not have to solely revolve around a gym. There are so many fitness activities that kids can be involved in by using little or no weights at all. But using the correct equipment can actually be awesome too!
I think a lot of the time parents are scared of their kids (especially under 12) using fitness equipment. But if guided correctly they will actually benefit from it greatly. And most of the time kids really love using some equipment. It gives them that feeling of maturity and joining in on suitable fitness classes can be extremely beneficial too.
In this current day and age, obesity is a real worry with the younger generation. Inactivity, screen time (or gaming) and excessive eating (usually of the non-nutritional variety) all contribute to this and it really has to stop but it comes down to us parents.
We need to encourage healthier eating patterns, regular exercise and movement and less time sitting on a screen. Pretty simple really.
Social interaction is so important for happiness and mental wellbeing. Mucking around with your mates, running around and having fun together just makes you feel good! So ensure that there is lots of social fun and fitness happening too.
Kids can get down too. And we need to keep a close eye on our children to make sure that they are remaining in a good head space at all times.
Exercise releases feel good endorphins and therefore can help to dramatically decrease rates of depression.
Sometimes even a child that seems to ooze confidence is actually lacking it! Especially if they may have recently gained a little bit of weight or have gone through a sudden growth spurt etc. And similar to releasing feel good endorphins, noticing your body changing and getting fitter and stronger can be a real confidence booster.
So this summer, let’s take the time to slow down a little in our whirlwind of life.
Let’s be the best role models we can be so we can ensure that our amazing next generation are following in our footsteps to help to lead us into a positive, mindful and active 2021 and beyond.