Nothing at all.
Your kids are going to copy you, not listen to you.
I invite them to participate: “Wanna ride our bikes to the lighthouse?”
I link them with active friends. “Think Stone will be on your soccer team this year?”
I celebrate their activity, not the outcome.
But if I tell them to “Go outside and do something!” or “Go ride your darn bike! It’s brand new!” – that’s not going to work. They’re still (barely) small enough for me to force them to do stuff–but that won’t always be the case, and rebellion is a rebounder.
My influence will always exceed my grasp. But I do know this: I’m their model.
What I Tell Other Peoples’ Kids About Fitness
This is probably what you REALLY wanted to read (sorry!)
I volunteer to coach kids. It’s my life’s mission to see kids engaged in active play, because it’s their best tool for beating depression, anxiety and dead-ended careers and relationships later in life. I can give you the stats if you want them.
Here’s what I tell the kids on my hockey and lacrosse teams at the start of every season:
“Our goal is for you to like hockey more at the end of the season than you do today.”
Then I give them the Book of Awesome. It’s a tracking guide for daily bright spots, workout and food. I believe in encouraging kids to play, to eat, and to know how both affect their mood and energy.
Imagine this: your 35-year-old spouse says,
“I woke up feeling really angry today, so I avoided carbs at breakfast and leveled out my blood sugar” instead of yelling at you.
Or your coworker says:
“I was super stressed about that website problem, so I took an hour to lift weights, and now I’m ready to hammer it.”
Or your teenage daughter says:
“I was SO MAD at what that girl said on Instagram, but I felt way better after I did a quick little workout.”
Or your eight-year-old son says:
“I ran around a lot at recess because I knew we had a test right after that.”
Amazing. And yet I’ve heard all of these this week.
My friends Ray and Carole teach phys ed at CASS. Before Ray and Carole, “gym class” was just learning the rules to games. NOW it’s fitness. And you know what they tell kids?
“Exercise until you’re happy.”
Nothing at all.