10 Things Your Children Should See You Doing

We have all heard the phrase, “truth is caught not taught” and in parenting this could not be more true. Children learn, yes by hearing, but predominately by seeing. They mimic. Babies mirror the movements of mom and dad. Toddlers mimic sounds and phrases mom and dad use regularly. Truth can be taught but it is more often caught. Below are ten things that your children need to see you doing.

Loving Your Spouse

Your children need to see you love your spouse. This can be a physical act of love, like a hug or a kiss, or it can be through verbal affirmations of character. It can also be simply the way you speak and act. Loving your spouse helps children see what’s most important. It teaches them invaluable truths about marriage and gives them security in their family.

Exercise

This one may sound a bit silly but your kids need to see you prioritize workouts (however- not above them!). Let them see you tying your running shoes, have them help you pick a workout mix, and show them the importance of workout nutrition. 

Laugh

Your kids need to know mom and dad can let go! They need to hear your belly laugh over dinner. Tell stories and laugh – it will break down barriers when they see that you are normal!

Cry

This is the other side of the coin. It is valuable (in moderation) to allow your kids to see you process pain. When your cherished pet dies, do not be afraid to cry with your kids. Emotional health in children is important!

Family Playing

Play

Are you silly? Do you ever just sit back and have a good time? Do you throw the ball with your boy? Your kids need to see you play. Play cards, throw darts, pick up pecans in the front yard and shoot them into buckets. Teach your kids to have an imagination!

Volunteer

The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Take the kids to the local soup kitchen and serve during Thanksgiving. Teach them this cherished truth by volunteering on a regular basis.

Read

Whether you are reading Shakespeare while the kids are playing at the park or you are scoping out new techniques on productivity, allow your kids to see you read. Reading is basic to learning and if they see you have a strong interest in it- hopefully they will too!

Work Hard

Hard work is not a bad thing – in fact it is a virtue to have a healthy work ethic. Let your children see you send an email, hammer a nail, wash the car, cook dinner, mow the yard, or write a proposal. It will teach them about being a productive member of society.

R&R

Sleep is vital for normal functioning. The body cannot continue without proper rest. The other side of the coin from hard work is rest and relaxation. Take a nap while watching a movie with the kids. On Saturday morning snuggle with your children in the bed. Feel free to lounge and be lazy with them. This will teach them the importance of slowing down.

Build Others Up

Your kids need to see you visit sick people in the hospital. They need to watch you write an encouragement letter to someone going through a difficult season. They also need to hear you speak well of others. Fight the temptation to bash people in front of the kids. Rather, speak of others strengths and personal virtues.

Modeling is crucial. Your kids will mimic you. So model well and remember that truth is often caught not just taught!

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Four Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Exercise

Exercising is key to living a healthy life. Being sedentary or exercising rarely will get you no where fast with health goals, and a lifetime of it will present you with potentially serious health problems. Good exercising habits start early, and many times takes a little gentle prodding or encouraging by parents. Some parents speak in ultimatums, “You can't watch TV until you play outside”, although that can build resentment in the heart of a child more than it does excitement in regards to exercise. So, although ultimatums and commands may work for a period of time, we find that there are better ways to encourage your kids to exercise.

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Have a Family Competition

Turning things like exercise into a friendly family competition will make your kids see their progress and to have something physically to strive for, other than the daily monotony of walking or running because they have to. If little Johnny is in a summertime competition with his big brother to see who can run the furthest, he might view the daily task of exercising in a different light. Raise the stakes if they get really involved to offer prizes for first, second and third place. Be careful though that, no matter the outcome, you reward everyone for their hard work. The goal is to have fun with healthy competitive motivation, so if things get too serious or too competitive, you'll want to adjust the situation.

Make It Fun with Games

Most kids don't really view playing sports as their allotted time to exercise. They're with their friends, they're laughing, they're showing their ball skills, they're running around – not exercising. Parents know, though, that this is a great way for them to get some exercise. Recreational sports leagues are great for implementing fun, game-like exercise and provide many benefits, social and physical. If you can't do a recreational league, try this: the next time you ask your kids to go play outside, give them a game to play that involves some exercise; they might just be a little more excited to do it.

Be Honest About the Future

Talk to your kids. Sometimes parents forget to mention the “why” behind their requests or demands. Being honest about their future if they're active versus if they're not is a great way to encourage them to be healthy. Show them people they admire, like professional athletes, fit celebrities or older people who are really in great shape, and let them know that their success was largely determined by their actions when they were children. Be careful not to scare them, but let them know the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, and that no great physical feat is ever really accomplished without a life of exercise leading up to it.

Do It With Them

Many times your kids will do what they see you do; this is why, at the very least, it's important that they see you exercising happily on a regular basis. If you gripe and complain about it, they will too. They'll be even happier to do it, though, if you offer to do it with them. Train your 9 year old to run a 5k. Walk the neighborhood and have some “daddy-daughter time” every evening before dinner. If you make it about quality time, your child will look forward to doing it with you.

Kids only dread exercise when they feel that it takes them from something more fun. Doing it with them, making it a game or a competition, and talking to them about the benefits of exercise are all great ways to encourage them to do it and to keep them happy.

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Exercise for the Busy Mom

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Devoting a substantial block of time to a physical exercise routine can seem impossible with so many of life's more important activities vying for your attention. Here are a few quick and easy adjustments you can make to your busy daily routine which should soon have you looking and feeling better about your physical activity level.

Get a set of one-pound arm weights to keep near your bed. First thing each morning, put them on before you begin preparing for the day. You will gain at least 15 minutes to an hour of upper body weightlifting action while doing something that you do every day. Stay-at-home moms can reap an even greater benefit from this exercise by keeping the weights on longer while doing daily household chores.

If you work in an office, grab a friend and take a quick 15-minute buddy-walk at lunchtime. Run/walk the stairwells if you work in a high-rise office building. For busy stay-at-home moms, midday is a good time to get out of the house to meet and commune with neighbors, or walk to the market to shop for fresh food to prepare for the evening meal. If you have small children home with you, put them in the stroller and walk the hilly route to the grocery store for a more taxing workout. And if time permits, get the whole family out for a stroll after dinner, even if it's just a few blocks.

Two-pound leg weights are an excellent investment when used to do leg lifts while getting your daily dose of news and information in the evenings. Put the weights on, sit in a straight back chair, then raise and lower your legs slowly, coordinating between raising them together and one at a time. Toning and strength are the benefits of this exercise.

Another quick and easy activity you can incorporate into your daily life is sit ups. If you have enough vacant floor space to lie flat on your back and a piece of heavy furniture under which you can anchor your feet, you're good to go. Even if you can only do one or two sit ups at first, stay with it! You'll immediately feel the abdominal muscles tightening, and a firmer mid-section will follow shortly.

Extreme activity changes that don't fit into your busy lifestyle won't last. The easy changes suggested here should feel less like work and have more staying power, and the benefits to you and your family should prove immeasurable.