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Nourish Family Nutrition & Therapy

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Encouraging Joyful Movement in Children

There are so many benefits of physical activity to your physical health, mental health, and self-esteem. However, the positive impact exercise can have on your self-esteem decreases when you are exercising to lose weight and/or change your appearance. Because of this, it is important to encourage our kids to move based on how it makes them feel instead of moving with the intention of changing their body size. As parents, we can teach our kids that movement is one of the best ways to feel good about their body- no matter what size they are.

Below are some tips to help encourage joyful movement-

1. The key to helping kids develop a positive relationship with movement for life is to encourage them to move for how it makes them feel, not for how it makes them look. Teach your kids about all the benefits of movement. For example, movement can help them feel strong and confident, can increase their energy levels, can improve their sleep, and can improve their mood (just to name a few). It is important that we teach kids that movement is not about the way that their bodies look.

2. Emphasize Fun!! Help your child find an activity that he or she enjoys.

3. Any movement is great, but when movement is an organic part of your family’s culture it is especially powerful. Get out and try new things as a family. Be active with your kids in both formal and informal ways. Try having a dance party, taking a walk together after a family meal, going outside to play, going on a hike, swimming/splashing in the pool, or even going on a bike ride. The possibilities for joyful movement as a family are endless.

4. Limit screen time. Set limits on time spent on TV, computers, and video games each day. Try to encourage more physical activities during their free time.

5. Be a positive role model. Present physical activity as a time to take care of your own body and health. Children are more likely to model your behavior when they see that you are enjoying your time being active.

Bottom line: Avoid framing movement as a way to change our bodies. Instead, focus on encouraging fun movement that your child enjoys and that makes them feel good. Remember that any movement is great and movement as a family Is especially powerful.

To schedule an appointment with Alison Martin, Nourish’s child and family expert, click here. Visit nourishfamily.com to learn more about our services and team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Licensed Therapists.

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