Did you know that one in three children in America are overweight or obese by the time they’re eleven? A frightening thought, especially considering that the bulging waistline trend seems to be on the rise, and weight issues are one of the biggest problems when it comes to children’s health. For kids, healthy habits need to be introduced at a very young age. Our daughters look up to us, and through love and admiration, they learn how to think and act. Teaching them how to make healthy lifestyle choices is essential, and can have a great impact on them later on. Working out with your daughter will not only improve her health, but it’s also a great way to bond and get to know each other better.
Toddlers and preschoolers
Does this sound too young? Don’t worry, no one’s expecting your child to start lifting weights when they turn two. Exercise for children aged 1 – 5 involves almost exclusively activity through play. Of course, children will already want to play on their own, but there’s a difference between sitting down with your dolls, and chasing a ball. Our girls are often encouraged to be soft, quiet and to sit still, but they benefit immensely from learning how to move around and stay active. There are numerous activities you can do with them even when they’re that young – from playing tag to taking swimming classes. Exercise will help them develop their bodies properly and it also means a better immune system, less chances of developing diabetes, and less stress. It’s excellent for children with ADHD as well.
School age kids
This is where things can get really fun because young children are usually very enthusiastic about running around, and that kind of eagerness can have a positive impact on you as well. Riding a bike together is going to be a really cool experience for your daughter, and if you take her on a camping trip and go hiking, you’ll be teaching her how important it is to spend time in nature. Teach her how to dance, so you two can shimmy together to your favourite playlist, or teach her how to play football and organize family matches every Sunday. Make it even more fun by wearing matching gym wear and sneakers; you and your daughter are a team, show her that you’ll always be in her corner. This is also a good time to teach her how to care for her gym clothes and make sure it’s always clean and neat. It’s important you help your child develop good stamina and agility at this age. Yoga, for example, is perfect both for the mother and her little lady, because it’s both mentally and physically soothing and will build up your daughter’s resilience and help you stay in shape as well.
Exercising together when your daughter becomes a teen is one of the best ways to prevent the rebellious resentment some children develop at this age. If you started doing yoga, feel free to continue with that. Yoga is great at almost any age, and teenage girls are definitely going to be happy to be trim and agile and have a nice figure. It can give them confidence and help them deal with their raging hormones. Now’s the time to incorporate weight lifting as well. Early teen years are important for muscle development, and you will both want to build up strength slowly. Make sure to show her that strength is beautiful and incredibly useful. Get matching weightlifting shoes, and hit the weights together! Eating disorders are common among teenagers, and one of the most common causes are some incredibly dumb social expectations and perceptions of beauty. Being healthy and strong is sexy, it’s amazing, and no girl should feel that her capable hands and toughness are a detriment to her attractiveness. Jogging, trekking, fencing, kickboxing and salsa classes are all great ideas as well, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
Make sure to consult your child’s paediatrician if you plan to get her involved in any sort of intense activity, but otherwise, just rock on and have fun. Exercising is incredible, and if you teach your daughter to enjoy it from an early age, she’s going to grow into a healthy, happy person and maybe even go as far as to become a professional athlete.