Your Little Mini Me…
As your child grows and starts to pick up on the things around them, you make a very conscious effort to not swear, be polite and be kind to others so that they will mirror those actions. Although this is very important and can help to shape your little one into a well-rounded child, have you ever stopped to think about how your reactions to other important aspects in life can affect them in the long run too? Today, I will be discussing how your reactions to exercise and healthy eating can affect how your child views them.
When your child is born, you are given a blank canvas. Of course, we COULD get into the argument over nature over nurture, but I think that behaviour related to the topic I am discussing today is mostly down the child’s environment and influences. Due to the child being a blank canvas all they can do is use the environment around them to form opinions and to shape their behavior, this is why is it important to start shaping the child’s mind from a younger age, as it is easy to get through to them, due to the fact there are no barriers. Therefore, I feel it is important to be active and engage with your child from their early months.
If you’re child’s earliest positive memory is playing outdoors with their parents or friends it is more likely that they will continue to enjoy being outdoors and being active as they grow as they will have a strong tie and positive connection to that feeling. Take the film 'Inside Out' for example, I know it was marketing as a child’s film but WOW. Studying Child Psychology in University? Quit whilst you're ahead, that movie is all you need. It gives you a perfect insight into how a child’s environment leaves positive and negative ties to memories, therefore shaping the main character as she grows into a pre-teen.
Therefore, if your child hears you talking about exercise and being active in a positive light, they will not see it as a chore that they need to avoid and will most likely want to join in with you, it’s really that simple. Doing a full body workout at home but don’t feel up to it? You can either do the full workout with a sulky face and allow your child to see you react negatively to exercise or you can get them involved, stick on some fun music and turn into a game with them. Yes, the workout may lack a little bit, but that’s okay because you have still burnt calories and you both have had a positive experience whilst being active.
Simply re-enforce that healthy = happy.
The worst thing you could do for your child is to allow them to sink into unhealthy habits, especially if the person they are looking up to is their parents. If you see your child picking up habits of unhealthy eating or being lazy, look and think ‘What message am I giving my child with my actions?’. You may be sending off these vibes without evening knowing? You may have got into the routine of 3 takeaways a week and over-sized portions without thinking about how your child will view food and what they need to fuel their body. You may find overhauling your own life will allow you to see clearly and take control of your child’s views and behaviour before it’s too late.