Tag Archives: parenting

How to Leave a Legacy of Fitness for Your Children

Today is my youngest son’s last day of sixth grade. One of the things on my mind (and the minds of many parents) is how to keep him active and engaged during the summer ahead. Perfect timing for guest blogger Heidi Kleine’s post on leaving a legacy of fitness for your children! 

Parent Kid exercise

As I faced another milestone moment this spring, my oldest daughter graduating from college, I have been reflecting again on legacy. I believe that it is innately human to want to leave a mark on the world. As a parent, when our experiences give us wisdom and insight, we want to share this knowledge to help our children avoid a few bumps in the road. It is challenging to know we can only share so much with our them. Much of what they will know, they have to learn through their own experiences. Four years ago, when this child left for college, I made a major change in my life. For the first time, I made my health my top priority. I am attending this graduation 100 pounds lighter and infinitely stronger physically, mentally and spiritually than I was at her high school graduation four years ago.

In my career as a faith formation professional, we often hear the statement “faith is caught, not taught.” I personally think it’s a little of both, but the idea is our children are more likely to follow in our footsteps than to act on our words. From a fitness perspective, I was diligent in making sure that my daughters were active. Each played a sport or danced. I forked out the money for the activities, schlepped them to and from practices, games and performances; but never allowed my fitness needs to take the same resources. I taught them their needs were more important than mine and sadly set the example that when they become parents, this is how it should be. I believe if you want to pass a legacy of valuing health on to your children, the most important thing you can do is live it with them.

First, make you own needs a priority and be open about it. Carve out the time that you will spend on your own fitness and make it non-negotiable. Whether that means getting up earlier in the morning, enlisting the help of your spouse or friends or just changing up your day, get a little movement into your daily schedule and model the expectation for your children.

Second, participate with your children as much as possible. Try to find activities for them that have a place for you. Can you be a coach or helper? Are there active family activities that you would all enjoy? I remember my daughter calling me “the cool mom” at a trampoline venue because I was willing to get involved and jump with her and her friends. Whenever possible, join in. Challenge your children to participate in active events with you. Is there a 5K or longer run or walk that you can do together? If you find a fundraising walk for a charity that shares your families interests or values, you get the double benefit of a healthy activity and modeling service as well.

Third, clean up your family’s diet. Regardless of whether you or anyone in your family needs to lose weight, take some time to look at the foods you are eating. Is your family getting the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables? How much sugar and processed food are making their way into your children? Where can you start making the little changes that will make a long term difference? Educate yourself about the quality of your food and decide where can you start making the little changes that will make a long term difference?

Remember to stay positive throughout. Your children will grow up loving a healthy lifestyle if that is what they have loved sharing with you. Focus on your own health and wellness and bring them along for the ride.

Author Heidi Kleine shares quality time and the love for fitness with her daughters at the gym.

Feature Image Credit

Want more on family fitness? Check out this post Keeping Kids Physically Fit Takes Parental Commitment

Parents Beware Latest Childhood Myth: The Doughnut Fairy

Doughnut Creative CFrom the series: Life on Dog Hill

My twelve-year-old son Ryan lost his last baby tooth a couple of days ago. I was out at the time and didn’t get home until after he was in bed, but he remembered to tell me the next morning. He had the tooth in a sandwich bag, which he dangled in front of my face before I’d even had my first cup of coffee. Ewww.

“So, what can I get for this I wonder?” he asked, cutting his eyes up at me for a reaction.

“Hmmm, I don’t know,” I responded. “It’s got a silver cap.”

“Those should be worth more,” he added quickly. “You know, silver and gold….”

Truth is, I was never a good tooth fairy. I never stayed awake long enough to safely slip into the kids’ rooms unnoticed. Without fail, the following morning I would always forget to collect the tooth and deposit the money while they were still sleeping. Poor little Ryan was no exception. I can’t even count the number of times I would remember while he was eating breakfast to rush upstairs, grab the tooth, and put a buck or two under his pillow.

“That’s funny,” he said after one such occasion. “When I woke up, nothing was here. I eat breakfast and the tooth fairy comes. How exactly does that work?”

“Even Ms. Tooth Fairy can run late you know,” I replied in all honesty. “Now hurry up and brush your teeth. You don’t want to miss the bus.”

The whole tooth fairy concept came to a traumatic crossroads when I was out of town on business and hubby called to tell me Ryan needed a button for a school project.

“Put him on the phone,” I said. “I’ll tell him exactly where to look.”

I directed Ryan right to the covered dish in my closet where I kept extra buttons. What I forgot at the time was that particular dish also contained several sets of baby teeth.

“MOM!” he practically screamed in my ear. “Why do you have all these teeth in here?”

I visualized him holding up the little bags to read the name identifying whose mouth it once belonged.

Another example of Tooth Fairy FAIL.

Realizing my blunder, I felt somehow relieved to think my tooth fairy days were finally over. This was obviously the time to come clean and tell Ryan the truth. Maybe I could clear up details about the Easter Bunny too. And Santa, of course. I took a deep breath and began…

“Well, Ms. Tooth Fairy has to carry a lot of teeth around and they get pretty heavy,” I offered. “Besides I like to save special momentos from your childhood, so I told her I’d like to keep your teeth. After she picks them up from you, she slips them under my pillow.”

Where did THAT come from, I asked myself in disbelief. It goes without saying that I’m not very good at revealing the truth behind popular childhood myths. One more year, I thought.

Ryan is a smart kid. He’s smart enough to know that if he plays along with Mom, he’ll get money under his pillow. He accepted my lame response and changed the subject.

Still, the tooth fairy adventure was down hill from there. After several Tooth Fairy no-shows, Ryan suggested the Doughnut Fairy instead. Essentially, whenever an unreliable fantasy gift-giving character falls down on the job, the Doughnut Fairy whispers in Ryan’s ear that hot doughnuts from the Krispy Kreme three miles down the road would be an appropriate substitute. I’ve made quite a few trips, needless to say.

I’m not sure what Ryan expects for his last baby tooth. He packaged it up nicely and turned it over to me for safekeeping. However, since the Easter Bunny got lost last Sunday on his way to Dog Hill, even Ryan knows two dozen doughnuts in one week is unacceptable. For the moment all is quiet, but I know that damned Doughnut Fairy is hovering nearby. I imagine that, until Ryan collects on his last baby tooth, it’s drawing interest, too. Lots of interest….

Photo Credit 

How to Get Your Kids Involved…In Anything!

What is your passionI am very excited to introduce Angie Dixon, author of The Leonardo Trait: How to Stop Trying to Be “Normal” and Start Being Who You Really Are. This extraordinary Leonardo has wonderful insight on how to engage your kids in… well, just about anything!

As the parent of a 16- and an 18-year-old, I often wonder what super-human parenting skills are involved with kids who are self-motivated to excel at school, sports, and life. While I’m grateful my kids are honest, respectful, and caring I have worried about my daughter, now 16, finding something to get involved in and care about. I mean, of course, besides music, boys and friends, which are all important.

A few years ago my husband, Jim, returned to his old hobby of birding. At first my daughter Sam went along to hang out with her dad, but something snagged her attention. Before long she was learning about birds and asked for a bird guide and binoculars. We gladly got them, with hopes but not expectations.

Birding was the thing for Sam. She gets up early on weekend mornings to go birding, went to ecology camp three years in a row, and is now on the board of the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas.

I don’t think there’s a magic formula to get kids engaged in something. I also don’t think we can make the blanket statement that their generation just “doesn’t engage.”

Kids these days have a lot more options than we did, not only in entertainment and hobbies, but in how and when they spend time with their friends. That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t get interested in school or a hobby. It does mean they may need more inspiration and encouragement.

Here are three recommendations for engaging your kids beyond their immediate social circle.

  1. Suggestion. I’ll be the first to admit that none of the things I suggested to Sam struck her fancy enough to be permanent hobbies, but because I suggested things she also looked around for ideas. She stayed interested in finding something to spend good time on.
  2. Opportunity. Let your kids try stuff, even if you don’t think they’re going to stick with it. Sam tried didn’t stick with guitar and she’s off-and-on with photography. But after trying birding she’s in love. We let her take choir as an elective and now she wants to join the competition choir next year. Opportunity is key.
  3. Encouragement. I know it can be hard to encourage your child in the tenth hobby in as many months. In terms of money, we let her start with one of our cameras when she tried photography. We bought a new bird book but her dad handed down her first pair of binoculars for birding. Kids need to discover their interests along the way and that’s easier if they know you’re behind them.

Some kids just aren’t going to find something right away, but I’m certain there is something for every kid. The key to helping them find that lies in encouraging and helping, but not pushing.

Learn more about Angie Dixon, take her quiz, and get her free Leonardo Nation creativity toolkit at http://www.LeonardoTrait.com.

Teen image courtesy of StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net