Share the Health
Learning From Observing
A teacher had two dishes with two different kinds of candy on her desk. She took a piece out of Dish A, put in in her mouth, and said “Yum, that’s good.” She then took it out of her mouth and threw it away. Next, she took a piece out of Dish B, put it in her mouth, and said “Ugh! That’s awful!”. However, she continued eating that piece and swallowed it. When she offered the students a piece of candy, they all wanted a piece of candy from Dish B.
Above is the summary of a story I remember from college. Though the teacher had said she didn’t like the candy in Dish B, the students had put more emphasis on what she did than what she said. It’s stories like this, and my own experiences, that teach me how much children watch our example.
We recently went to the track across the street to just walk around as a family. It was a nice day and to spend some time together on Josh’s day off. Josh asked me to walk with the kids for awhile so he could run a quick sprint. He got into a sprinter’s start, then ran for a little while. After seeing his dad, PJ then proclaimed he wanted to run, got into his own version of a sprinter’s start, and ran for a few feet before proclaiming “I’m done.” About five minutes later, Josh was helping me improve my high knees when we noticed that PJ was trying his own version of high knees.
PJ isn’t the only kid who likes to copy. While doing a yoga DVD the other day, I looked at AJ who was doing her own stretching. I tried to hold my balance while laughing at this tiny girl trying to do warrior or pyramid. My niece has asked me a few times to exercise with her, and it’s fun to watch her do jumping jacks. Not only are the kids copying what I’m doing, but they’re having fun.
Share the Health
Children like to copy what they see. PJ and AJ have started their versions of exercise. They got interested in green smoothies because they saw me drinking them. They are now interested in foods like spinach, blueberries, and quinoa all because we’ve had it for dinner. Exercise and eating right is something that I’ve shared with them. It’s something we’re doing together.
Don’t always separate what you are doing from what your children are doing. Take them for walks or hikes with you. Share some of your “healthy” foods with them. Talk to them about why you do the things you do. If you want to help your kids be healthy, here’s my advice: set the example and “share the health.”