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Parent Affirmation Monday- Exercise- 7/30/2012

English: 100220-N-6855K-045 OKINAWA, Japan (Fe...

English: 100220-N-6855K-045 OKINAWA, Japan (Feb. 20, 2010) Children from the Kadena Children’s Center jump rope with Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Stephanie Delano, left, Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Shannon Lanza and Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class James Kerr during a community relations project. Sailors from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 also taught traditional English songs to the local Japanese children attending after-school care at the center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

I am sure I am not the only parent who has used the Olympics to get my children motivated to exercise.  We have watched the Olympic swimmers and gymnasts and talked about all the hard work they put into getting to the Olympics, as well as all the times they must have tried and failed in competitions, meets, etc. only to dust themselves off and try again.

This week and last week, I am posting about taming the “nasties” in your child.  One major mood stabilizer (better than medication in studies) is exercise.  You have probably heard this before- exercise 30 minutes several times per week.  I know that is hard as a parent, especially if your children are younger.  However, I would like to take this opportunity to illustrate the ways in which we can imprison ourselves with our thoughts.  I see many adults do this with exercise, parenting, eating, you name it.  We create our own personal prisons, when we read an article that tells us the best way to do something and decide it is the “only” way.

Think of a prison cell with no bars on the front.  Then, with each thought you have about  the reasons you can not exercise, imagine a bar being put in place.  “I don’t have time.”  There is one bar in your prison.  “I don’t have the right equipment.”  There goes another bar.  “I don’t like to exercise.”  Bar.  “I can’t afford the gym.”  Pretty soon, if you examine your thoughts about something, then step back, the self-imposed prison becomes quite evident.  Again, just because you read an article about the optimal way to do something, that does not mean it is the only way to do it.  For example, “I don’t have time to exercise.”  Maybe you don’t have 30 minutes strung together.  Do you ever get five minutes?  Just because 30 is better doesn’t mean five is nothing.  Some exercise is better than no exercise.  Walk up the steps instead of taking the elevator.  Park farther away from the grocery store.  When your daughter is practicing jump rope, get a rope and practice too.  When you do this, you are removing a bar from your prison.  The times you take the kids for sports practice, instead of sitting and chatting in the waiting room, see if the parent you talk to every time might want to take a walk during the class instead.    Another bar down.  No gym membership?  No problem!  Exercise is free or very inexpensive if you want it to be.  Running requires shoes.  I’ve seen jump ropes at the dollar store.  Walking in place or up and down the steps does not even require shoes.  Similarly, a private dance party with your little ones costs nothing.  I am certain that if you decide to be kind to yourself by losing the perfectionistic tendencies that keep you from exercising, then you will see you are moving more, regulating your emotional state better and modeling a wonderful way to love yourself for your children.

Two quick parenting tips:

  1. When you are in a bad mood, try saying to your children, “I’m in a bad mood, I think I need to go workout so I can be nicer to everyone.”  This trains them from early on to do as my children learned: when they see me fussing and getting overwhelmed, they ask if I might need to take a walk so I can feel better.  Lots of times we do end up going for a walk and I do feel better.  Also, because I model this for them, when they are in a bad mood, I see them doing the same thing.  They ask to take a bike ride to feel better, or I find one of them jumping rope outside.  Each time this happens, we reinforce each other’s good behavior making great habits that can last a lifetime.
  2. If you are having a hard time deciding on a type of exercise you would like to try, think about what you wish your child would try.  Are you attracted to them doing that sport because it is something you wish you could do?  Or, think of the activities you loved as a child.  Did you love to go bowling?  Did you take dance classes?  Did you always wish to be a runner?  You don’t have to be training to be a professional to enjoy the movements you always wanted to do as a child.  Try them now :).

Today’s affirmation is:

I show my children how to love themselves and care for their body by exercising in ways I enjoy.

July 30, 2012 - Posted by | affirmations

1 Comment »

  1. […] I show my children how to love themselves and care for their body by exercising in ways I enjoy. […]

    Pingback by Parent Affirmation Monday- review #2 8/27/2012 « help4yourfamily | August 27, 2012 | Reply


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