Healthy kids are really important to me. As a mother and educator I see the value of raising healthy, happy and fit kids. Growing up in New Jersey dancing and athletics were an important part of my life. We were encouraged to play outside every day and to be back home before the street lights came on. I climbed trees and roofs, rode my bike and played basketball, football, kickball and baseball.
Today’s kids don’t do anything like that. If you ask them to go outside and play they feel that’s a punishment. They look at you like you have just turned into someone unrecognizable like an alien or something, not their parent. They answer back with “Why would I want to do that?!” or I want to play my computer game or go on Facebook or watch CSI:Special Victims Unit.
Because of our income I did not take dance lessons as a child in a traditional dance studio. My dancing was done at house parties in our home and the home of our friends and family. Doing all the latest dances was fun and great exercise. It became a love and a passion of mine. Dancing was an outlet and wonderful form of self expression. It was also great exercise and didn’t cost any money doing at home.
As an adult I trained in Classical Ballet, Tap,Jazz, African, Hip Hop and Modern dances and now Middle Eastern dance or Belly Dancing. Because of my love of dance and children and realizing the importance of fitness at an early age I wanted to contribute to the lives of disadvantage youth in my area and expose them to classical dance training at an earlier age, and Pitter Patter Feet was created. During my 18 years, since 1993, of doing this I discovered that dance was an excellent way to develop the brain as well as the body in helping to create happy, smart and fit kids. But all movement helps children to be healthy along with healthy eating.
There are three very simple things that you can do to help your child be healthy. Those three things are one, start as early as possible with giving them experiences that involve movement when they play. Even with infants you can play little games at home where you include movement and singing. The second thing is to be aware of things that catch your child’s interest. Be willing to act on what interests them and explore it further, especially if it is movement based like sports, martial arts, skating, ice skating snow boarding etc. The last thing is to be a great role model. If your child sees you exercising, enjoying some form of movement activity and eating healthy, they are more likely to follow you. Listed below are some ways you can accomplish this.
You can even start as early as when children are in the womb to introduce them to movement by singing and dancing while they are in your belly. This is great bonding and fun for you and your child. Then once they arrive you can sing songs and nursery rhymes and move their bodies to the beat. With older children even as young as 2 you can enroll them in a variety of movement based classes specifically designed for their age and development. You can also take them to sporting events, competitions, shows and dance recitals to give them exposure and see what they are like.
FIND THEIR INTERESTS
By taking them to different events like dance recitals, Little League Baseball, Football and Soccer games as well as shows and even watching people perform activities in the park, you have an opportunity to learn what they might like and what interests them. Kids are more likely to do things that they are interested in and like than if they are forced to do an activity. Even while watching t.v or reading a story to them there are so many ways to expose children to things they might like and finding what those things are.
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
You are your child’s best and first teacher. If they see you taking care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy foods and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and consuming lots of water, they are more likely to follow. Children do as we do not necessarily as we say. Being a good role model is a very powerful method of helping your child to live a healthy life style. But don’t think it’s all up to you though. You can also point out examples of people taking care of themselves in a healthy way that are around them. Not just people either, characters like Elmo, Big Bird, Dora and Yo Gabba Gabba are like stars to your children and influence them also. So use them to your advantage and it will make your job a lot easier.
For more information on healthy eating and having a healthy life style get a free report at http://www.healthykidsweightloss.com. Please also feel free to let us know how things turned out for you.