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Working Out with Kids: Do What You Like! Part One

Working Out with Kids: Do What You Like! Part One

When parents try to get their kids to be more active, these efforts usually start out full of enthusiasm and good intentions, but very often end up sidelined, not by the kids' unwillingness to cooperate, but by the
Parents' inability to provide the consistent support needed.
If that sounds familiar, don't feel bad. It's not a knock on your parenting. Busy, overloaded parents sometimes just get to the point where something's
got to give. Start with competing demands in a tight schedule, throw in the periodic unexpected happenstance, and the thing that "gives" can often
end up being the kids' physical activities.
The Centers for Disease Control conducted a longitudinal survey of kids aged 9 to 13 years, and included their parents. What the researchers found
was that more than 60 percent of children aged 9 to 13 do not participate in any organized physical activity when they're out of school hours, and almost a quarter of kids in that age group do not engage in any kind of free-time physical activity at all.
Nothing. Not playing tag, not riding a bike, not even walking home from school. And 25 percent of parents said they believed their own lack of time was
a major barrier to their children's participation in physical activity. In truth, it's probably even more than that, because it's just hard to accept and admit that our packed family schedules may actually be interfering with our kids' opportunities to play and be healthy.
But if the dog has to go to the vet at 4:00 and homework and dinner both have to be done before the teacher conference at 7:00, there's probably not
going to be much chance of your youngster working in a nice brisk bike ride, especially if you've also got to drop off the dry cleaning and pick up a
prescription along the way.
But it's not an insurmountable problem. It's just that, as with anything you value, it helps to build in some defenses for the activities you want for your
kids' health and happiness.
Do what you like? While it seems logical and intuitive to get your child
involved in something that interests them, you might also want to consider the importance of undertaking an activity that interests you.
Why is that? There are several reasons. Let's take it from the most basic. Very often, heavy children have heavy parents and if you've also got a weight
problem you want to tackle, consider that people are often more motivated to help their children than themselves. If you find something that you enjoy
and then engage your child in your enthusiasm for the activity, it's more likely you'll both participate more often, whether it's playing tennis or simply
sharing a brisk, regular walk and a chat. Your joint participation makes the activity better for the family all around. Your consistency in keeping your child active will arise out of a genuine interest in the particular activity, rather than coming simply from the duty to pursue healthy activity. If it's something you want to do, your leadership will help keep the child on track.
On the other hand, if you've invested a lot of your time and resources to have the kids participate in karate classes, but you end up just sitting and watching, you may enjoy vicarious satisfaction from your child's participation, but it doesn't as much for you personally. And many a parent is familiar with
the antsy feeling of standing by dutifully waiting for a child's activity to wrap up, preoccupied by other obligations nagging at our heels. The idle time spent as a spectator of an activity that's not personally meaningful can begin to feel like wasted time for someone with a huge to-do list. But if you are a
keen karate fanatic, even if you're not participating yourself, your enthusiasm and attention to the activity will show, and will feed your child's enthusiasm for his own involvement.
When we consider the things that give us joy, and expose our children to those activities, we end up sharing more than a workout.
(ITALICS)This article is continued in the 10-9 issue of the Picket News.

Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist is a board certified Family Physician and a board certified Bariatric Physicians (the medical specialty of weight management).

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