People around the world will be turning in this Friday for the 2012 Summer Olympics. This is one time we encourage you to let your children watch tv. Let them be inspired by athletes, especially if they participate in summer sports. Swimming, soccer and track are just a few of the sports many of our kids are involved in.
Here are some thoughts on the Olympics from our providers:
We all share the goal that our children will grow up physically fit. Even further, we want them to keep maintaining their healthy lifestyle as adults. As we watch the Olympics, our tendency is to say.."I better get my children in an organized sport" or "is it time to get them a personal trainer?"
Yes, it's true that organized sports at the higher grade levels will help our kids stay in shape--but less than half of the students are actively participating. So how can we build the love of 'activity' in all our children?
T. Wall, MD
From a young age, I encourage parents to help their children play 'outside'--it's hard to get good aerobic activity inside, esp. since treadmills are not safe for the 'less than teens'. Any kind of play works, but kids need variety. Lately there is a new twist--our kids don't know how to play spontaneously. Look around your neighborhood during the non-school days? The 'play' activities for most kids is down compared to ten years ago.
So as parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc.. it's time to help our kids--and that means grabbing the ball and joining them outside. Or invent games they can play that keep them on the go. Consider taking them on regular hikes or bike rides.
My parents and siblings were the help to me. In my grade school years I was limited to crutches for a time due to a hip disease. I couldn't play organized sports but they encouraged me by joining me outside to play baseball/football. I was the neighborhood quarterback on crutches! Later, I could get in organized sports and played tennis in high school. I am sure it was my family's encouragement to me earlier that helped me learn to enjoy the physical activity.
We can all help our children stay fit for a lifetime by encouraging them in regular play--and joining them in those activities!
K. Gubbins, CPNP
Children's sports are not about who is the best athlete, who is the fastest or who always takes first place; It is about making sure they are having fun and getting fit! Getting their hearts pumping in a fun way! Belonging to a team teaches a child dedication and how to work together with others.
S. Flais, MD
An exciting aspect of the summer Olympics is the wide range of sports represented in the games. In addition to the usual track and swimming, there are also the less-mentioned yet interesting events such as rowing, badminton, and cycling. The wide range of sports shows our kids there are so many fun ways to stay active and physical. As your child grows it is a great idea to expose him or her to a wide range of activities. If kids connect with a sport that they find fun, staying physically active will happen naturally. Keep in mind that any active movement is a healthy choice compared to sitting on a couch watching TV or playing video games. A rousing game of table tennis (also known as ping pong), while not considered by many to be a "sport", is a much healthier option than sitting down with a handheld gaming device!
Advice for parents of athletes? Ileana Lochte, mother of Ryan Lochte, who is expected to win several swimming medals in London 2012, has mentioned in interviews that she didn't force Ryan to swim growing up, as that approach likely would have caused him to quit. Ryan simply loved the sport and she helped nurture that love along the way without interference. Let your kids "own" their sport, celebrate their successes and encourage them, remembering that the long-term goal is fitness, not trophies.