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Preventing Childhood Obesity By Letting Your Child Lead

A really fun way to prevent childhood obesity is by letting your child lead you in performing exercises. Notice the operative word here “perform”. There is a vast difference between doing exercises and performing exercises. Your child naturally knows this and you used to too before you became a grown up  and life became so serious. Performing is joy for a performer, its fun and makes them feel wonderful. As a dancer, I know this first hand which is why I have stuck with it for over 27 years as a technically trained dancer and more than that as a shake your groove thing, have a funky good time like James Brown says  dancer.

So you and your child are going to enjoy the performance aspect where you are not conscious of yourself or an audience, but are just moving and having fun. There will be a bit of structure because you will be exercising but more from a kid’s perspective where you have an “I CAN DO IT” attitude and you attack this task with gusto and enthusiasm. You are not going to look at it as something “I got to do” or “should do”, don’t even look at it as work. This is the difference between performing and doing exercises.

Even in preschools now children are exercising so just start out asking them to show you exercises they do in school. If they happen to go to a school where there is no structured exercise or dance program or other physical actiivity, you can start out doing some and then switch roles.

One thing I know for sure, is that these days even kids that do not have command over the English language yet don’t mind telling you what they want to do and how it’s suppose to be done. Words like Barney, Elmo, Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba, although only one words gives you a lot of information. Even if you know nothing about dance or exercise it doesn’t matter, but I’m sure you know more than you think. When children tell you what songs they want, you are guaranteed some form of movement will occur if you play thoses songs.

In case you’ve forgotten your gym classes or maybe you never had a gym or fitness class, because it was taken out of the school system, here are a few ideas. Reach up then down, don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes, just get the directions right. You can do this to music or not but it’s much more fun with music. You can make your own song out of it. Reach up then down. Reach up then down. Turn around. Turn around  amd around and around.  Then repeat the entire thing all over again.

This is great for kids because the singing and ryhming are building language skills and are pre-literacy skills. Depending on their age ask them can they think of any words that rhyme with “down”. I’m sure they will be able to come up with a few. Be open to changing the order, first go down then up. Ask your child what they think you both should do.

Kids love pretending, so pretend that they are the teacher or adult and lead the class. Ask them to pick out the music.  Some other moves you can do are jumping your feet apart then together, lifting your opposite knee to touch your elbow, crossing the midline of the body. As a matter of fact this is a great move because it crosses two midlines simultaneously.

Remember to have fun, it doesn’t have to be for very long 10 minutes would be great. Even if you just danced to a series of songs in a row that would still be great because you are moving. Try to do this as often as you can. If you make this a habit you will be more successful at doing it.  Start small and build from there you can do it. Good luck and please let me know how it turned out. For more tips on keeping your child healthydownload my free e-book at http://www.healthykidsweightloss.com.

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