Category Archives: Kids Sports

Raise your hand if you think child obesity is #kindofabigdeal

I work two jobs in two different schools every day. Monday through Friday. A junior high and a elementary school. September is “fight child obesity month” and everyday I see 7-year old children and 13-year old teens dealing with body sizes that are simply not healthy for them. Child obesity is not just kind of a big deal, it is probably the  issue that will keep this country from raising their health standards in the future.

But there are some simple ways to avoid and to get our kids back on track.And please, no excuses.

A quick google search brought me some cool ideas for exercises for kids of ANY age. Simple drills that can be made into fun challenges and games.

  • animal walking: pretend you’re in the jungle. Tell your kid you’re BOTH are going to pretend to be animals and you have to walk like them. Be creative. Lion, bear, snake, kangaroo, spider, tiger, elephant, giraffe, etc… all these animal types of walks (crawling, hopping, stretching…) can provide a simple, fun and efficient workout.
  • dancing hour: we do this one quite often here at home and it’s a blast. Some old school hip hop on the “gheto blaster” and Lucas all of a sudden becomes a breakdancer. Country music, rock and roll, classical… mix it up and have your child try different styles of dancing. It’s not only fun but it’s also a way to bring music in their lives.
  • sports: a game of catch, kicking the soccer ball around, shooting some hoops. Take your child to a park and enjoy some dad and son (or dad and daughter) time playing their favorite sport. If they don’t have a favorite sport yet maybe it’s a good time to introduce them to different ones. Try one each day and see what they like. But don’t force them to perform like super athletes. It’s more about getting them moving and having a good time.
  • the playground: there are some good parks all over the country. It’s really cool to see your child interact with other children and run around, jump over stuff, climb. Don’t be afraid to see them take a few tumbles, just make sure they’re relatively safe and let them enjoy.

I mean, there are a lot of options to get them off the TV or the video-games. Even those can provide some help. Today there are TV shows and some video-games that either motivate our children to exercise or actually make them do it. For the little ones you can try Yo-Gabba-Gabba. A TV shows that gets them off the couch and tells them to dance and get their wiggles out. And the Wii was a pioneer of interactive games and went even father by creating the Wii Fit. But now there are also other options out there.

Whatever you choose to do just keep this in mind: active kids make healthy adults.

Have a wonderful weekend,

~Gil

What about turning the TV and the video-game off for 45 minutes and playing outside

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Kids and sports. Make it fun, not a burden.

Most of dads I know enjoy sports. Many of them played in the past and a good number of them still play their favorite game. I myself am a soccer aficionado. Being from Brazil made it easy for me to fall in love with the sport and I constantly tell my friends that one of my biggest dreams is to stay healthy enough for, one day, play with my sons. But I mean, really play. Even if it’s a pick up game. I imagine Pedro being 18 and Lucas 16 and us three on the same field playing together. I will be 48 by that time. So I really hope I can stay healthy until there.

I know I am not alone when I say I want to see my kids playing sports. It be amazing if they choose soccer (futebol for us Brazilians) but I’d be happy with ANY other sport they choose. The joy of competing, the frustration, the challenge, the discipline, the friendships, the respect for yourself and others… I got it all from playing sports.

Every now and then my wife asks me: “What if Lucas doesn’t like sports that much?” Well, that is a possibility but it’s one that I’m trying to work on preventing.

Sports is part of almost everybody here in the United States. Even if you don’t like it you end up exposed to it. And in some cases parents almost force their kids to play sports. That’s when the problems being.

Soccer moms, t-ball dads, you name it. In every organized sports team for kids there’s at least one or to parents who seem to be ten times more excited than the child himself.

My parents were exactly the opposite. They NEVER went to my games. I did get upset sometimes but my passion for the sport was much bigger. And today I can say that I got as far as I got playing sports because of my own will. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe parents must

Will Ferrel as an unstable parent-coach on "Kicking and Screaming"

support and even give their kids a little push to get into sports. But please remember that for kids sports should be just a game, just a pass time with their friends. A time for them to get their wiggles out.

As they grow they might develop a deeper interest in the sport but let it happen naturally. You can watch sports with them, set the environment but if your son or daughter comes to you and say: “Dad, I don’t want to play soccer (football, baseball, volleyball, softball) anymore.” Your reaction just be calm and composed. Ask them if something happened? If they’re being bullied? If somebody did something to him/her? And if the answer is something as simple as “I just want to do something different now.” Just let it be.

One thing you should NEVER, EVER, EVER, do is to act like a total jerk. If your kid is good or not you’re there just to support. Don’t pretend that they’re a superstar when they can barely kick the ball straight but also don’t demand that they perform at a professional level when they’re only 8, 9 or 10 and their goal is just to have a good time.

The video bellow was a campaign from the Football Association in England (the FA) to show the kind of behavior that can destroy a child’s spirit and love for sports. Don’t be that dad. Be cool. Be a Superdad!

Cheers,

~Gil