Updated: Aug 4, 2019
"Pick up your clothes. Do your homework. Brush your teeth. Stop hitting your sister. Put that down before you hurt yourself." Does any of this sound familiar? I know I definitely heard it as a kid and I hear it from my friends who have kids and I've even said it to one of my six nieces at one point or another. When you said that to your child or even when it was said to you as a child, how many times do your kids actually listen to what you say? Or do they continue to ignore you and draw all over the walls? They say kids are like sponges; they hear something one time and then repeat it over and over again. Well, the same goes for what they SEE. I was reminded of this recently when our own Motivated by Mara sent me a video of her daughter. Mara had taken her daughter out on a run in the stroller and stopped at a local park to let her out so she could run around. The video showed her daughter at a park bench, where she was doing tricep dips! I watched in amazement. Her daughter is less than 2 years old, where would she have learned such a thing. Oh ya, probably from watching her parents who are a very active couple. After this, I started to look more closely at other families. As many of you know, childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Type 2 diabetes, which was formerly known as "adult onset" diabetes, is now no longer the case. Kids as young as 10 years old are now diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I noticed that parents who were overweight and unhealthy, had children who were also overweight and unhealthy. How would a child know that a bag of chips was not good for them when they see their parents eat it every day? Why would a child want to go run and play outside, when they think the norm is to sit on the couch and watch TV like Mom and Dad? I owe a lot of gratitude to my parents. They always took me and my sister on hikes, to the beach, or out to do something active. Every night we sat at the table with a home cooked meal, which included a protein, a vegetable, and a starch. Of course we would get the occasional dessert, but not until we finished our vegetables. I still don't like brussel sprouts to this day! But I watched and I learned that it's important to get outside and make sure to eat healthy. I understand that some families may not be as fortunate as I was and may not have the means to be able to afford home cooked meals every night. However, kids still watch your every move and if they see/hear you being negative about exercise; how do you think they'll grow up to feel about exercise? Lead by example and they will follow. One of my other good friends has workouts in his garage and every morning his son comes out and attempts pull-ups on the bar. Why? Because he sees Dad doing them every day! Of course he wants to grow up big and strong like Dad right? So next time you're telling your child something, don't say something like "do as I say, not as I do". Be the example and actually DO what you say! Pretty soon your child will be DOING what YOU DO! FYI, Mara's daughter not only learned how to do tricep dips, but she is a pro at doing burpees!