This weekend my husband and I ran the Color Run in Seattle. It was a last minute thing, and we had an amazing time! One of the things that touched my heart was seeing all the families that came out to do the run together. It really got me thinking about how more families can start making healthier choices with their children.
Children learn from their parents, siblings, and those that are around them most. It is so important, therefore, to lead by example.
We have evolved a special and very powerful form of learning. That special form of learning is “imitation,” the ability to learn behavior from observing the actions of others. Imitation is so commonplace among adults and children that it is often overlooked in infancy, but infants make good use of imitation. Understanding imitation in infancy changes the way we look at infants. In so doing, it changes the way we look at ourselves, because we begin to see ourselves reflected in the behavior of our youngest children.-Born to Learn
Think of the activities that make up a healthy and fit lifestyle. This may include:
- Healthy eating
- Working out
- Choosing Family and Friends over media and devices
- Having a spiritual practice
- Family Chiropractic Care
- And so much more!!!
By engaging our children in these activities and ensuring that we are showing them our dedication, we can teach them the foundations of fitness.
You are what you eat! The things that we put into our bodies, be they food or food-like-substances are the building blocks that our muscles, skin, organs, etc are made of. Some fitness experts say that 80% of fitness happens in the kitchen. It is so important to teach kids how to prepare real food. In fact, many times children who are picky eaters will try new foods when they have been involved in making them!
Cooking with children also means that they learn about what whole food ingredients go into a home-made meal. Later on, when they learn to read and look at labels, they won’t see some of the same ingredients they know go in spaghetti sauce or bread on store labels. This is an excellent way to talk to kids about food additives and preservatives.
They also get to spend quality time with you and learn from you in a really authentic way about food and, often, family. One of the things I wish I had done was cook more with my Aunt. She has all of the family recipes in her head- not on paper. Family heritage can easily be passed down in the kitchen.
From a young age, there are many classes that get parents and their children involved in fitness. Seattle Holistic Center offers a variety of classes that encourage families to engage in fitness together. Choosing an after dinner walk or a family trip to a park on a Saturday are other ways to ditch the TV and get active with your kids. When these activities become part of everyday life, it is easier to maintain and fitness is an integral part of family.
It is important to work out without your kids, too. Talking to your children about going to a yoga class or playing basketball with friends lets them know that you are taking care of your body. It also gives you some de-stress time.
Ditch the Devices
More and more devices rule our existence. They manage our schedules, tell us when to get up in the morning, we get sucked into Facebook and Twitter, and we spend time with them instead of our families.
It’s time to ditch the devices.
Some families are starting to have tech-free dinner or family time that is designated. The phones, tablets, and computers are put away in favor of game night. No phones are allowed in bedrooms or at the dinner table. Families spend time with one another.
If you are reading this and thinking …. my kids are grown, but what would we even talk about at family dinners? Try a game like Table Topics. These cards have questions on them that are meant to start discussion- and you never know what you will learn about friends or family. It’s never too late to put your phone away!
More and more research is being performed that examines the value of taking time away for self. For some this may be an organized religion, self meditation practice, yoga practice, or simply quiet time alone. No matter how you choose to practice, it is becoming more and more apparent that our bodies and brains need time to disengage and reboot.
Kids can learn from this in a big way. More and more programs are available for kids guided meditation through apps and in person instruction.
Many families find that setting time aside for family reflection about a Bible verse, poem, idea, or object is a way to get everyone involved in practicing together.
Family Chiropractic Care
I love when I see whole families making wellness a priority. Chiropractic care is an essential part of health and wellness and as a family oriented Chiropractor, nothing makes me smile more than checking an infant, their siblings, parents, and grandparents all together. Keeping everyone’s nervous systems functioning at their highest level helps to improve overall health. Plus, many parents and grandparents find that it helps them to keep up with their kids!
I hope that you have gotten some ideas for how to integrate fitness into your family. If you have tried some of these things or have comments, please feel free to leave them below!