I know, at the time, my husband and I weren’t great active examples for our kids. Exercise was low on our priority list for a long time, but five years ago, my husband and I both started to run and take better care of ourselves. Soon, we were running several days a week and training for races. Running improved our fitness level and gave us more energy to play with the kids. Instead of sitting around watching TV with the kids, we were inviting them to go for a walk or to go play tennis. It didn’t take long before the kids started to follow our lead – going outside more, wanting to run with us, and even training for their own races. Tennis lessons and swim team were things they wanted to do. Not only were the boys becoming more physically fit, but they were also handling their emotions better and learning to make healthier choices overall.
My boys don’t play for competitive sports teams and they don’t run races to win them. Our family has found physical activities we enjoy and at which we want to improve. That’s what I want for your family, too. I want you, Mom and Dad, to get yourself moving. Do something active you love to do on a regular basis or even something you can just tolerate to start. I was not a runner from day one, but I grew to love it over time. Your healthy example—and perseverance—will speak much louder than any words you say to your child! I’d love to share a few tips if you are just getting started or struggling to motivate your family.
Encourage an Active Family Lifestyle
Try New Things
My oldest son was willing to try running because he saw that Dad and Mom loved it. When I saw how much he loved swimming laps for the swim team and he asked to go swim more in the offseason, I went with to give it a try for myself. Not only is it a great bonding experience for us, but it shows him that I am willing to be open to new things and he can do the same!
If you and your family are having a hard time picking an activity to try, pick up a few books to find some inspiration! My son is already a runner, but he really enjoyed the story of an ultramarathoner and a dog told in the young reader’s version of Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey. I don’t expect my 11-year- old to run an ultra-marathon anytime soon, but he was definitely entertained and inspired as a runner while reading this book! The literary world could open up a whole new world when it comes to health, activity, and fitness for your family.
Pray for a Healthy Perspective
So often, what starts as a focus on getting healthy ends up as an obsession or comes to an end in frustration. This happens when trophies and numbers on a scale take over. It’s important to pray as a family to remain focused on taking care of the bodies we were given by God in order to honor Him and bring Him glory. This another place where you set the example for your kids to follow. Don’t wait for January to make a healthy change in your family. Right now is the time! Find your own motivation and show your kids what it looks like to be active, healthy, and doing it all for the Lord!