The fitness habits you pick up as a kid stay with you for as long as you live. That’s not to say that you can’t overcome those learned behaviors, but it is definitely harder to move past poor fitness routines the older you get. In order to establish the right kinds of ideas about fitness in your kids, it’s important to talk about it and to instill positive values when it comes to physical fitness.
It’s also vital to stress the importance of fitness as a whole with your kids.
Focus on Health, Rather than Weight
For the longest time, people have focused on silly things like “goal” weights and “ideal” weights. At the end of the day, weight is just a number that fluctuates based on the time of day, the season, and even the climate you live in. That number in no way defines who you are as a person, and it’s not at all tied to your self-worth.
When you’re talking to your kids about fitness, make sure that they understand weight has nothing to do with their value as people. You’re not concerned with the number they see when they step on the scale. You just want them to be healthy.
Emphasize the Positive
On a similar note, it’s important for you as the parent to emphasize the positives of fitness, rather than the negatives. Fitness should never be about losing weight. It should instead be about your kids’ gaining strength and skills and the ability to do things with their bodies that they couldn’t previously do.
When you emphasize the positive aspects of fitness, you entice your kids to participate in the hopes of gaining new skills—rather than making them feel as though fitness is a chore to be completed.
Let Them Know It’s Okay to Fail
Everyone fails. Most people fail at something at least once a week. When it comes to teaching your kids about the importance of fitness, you have to stress this point: it is okay to fail. It is okay to be bad at a sport. It is okay to fall off your bike.
When you make these points to your kids, you allow them to see failure as an opportunity to grow and learn, instead of as a condemnation of their current capabilities.
Regardless of the way you frame it, it’s crucial to emphasize the joy that fitness can bring to their lives—for the rest of their lives.