I don’t mean that exercise shouldn’t be fun. Of course it should. What I mean is that exercise shouldn’t be ‘FUN!!!’ With at least three exclamation marks.
As in, ‘our classes are non-stop fun!!!’ and ‘sign up with us for loads of fun!!!’ and ‘your kids will have so much fun they wont even realise they’re exercising!!!’
Come to any of my classes and you’ll see kids having fun. Kids know how to have fun, it’s a no-brainer for them. We don’t need to teach them how to have fun, and as parents we often set ourselves unrealistic expectations of how much fun we’re supposed to be delivering on a daily basis.
What do these ‘FUN!!!’ classes teach our children?
- Exercise is not worth doing unless you’re having ‘FUN!!!’.
- As soon as it stops being ‘FUN!!!’, you should give up.
- You need to rely on adults with fancy, colourful equipment to bring the ‘FUN!!!’ to you, you’re not capable of making things fun for yourself.
- When you’re too old for our ‘FUN!!!’ programmes, or too big for our bright equipment, you might as well stop exercising. Unless you make the school team where you’ll struggle to understand why exercise has stopped being all about the ‘FUN!!!’
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
I’d rather teach my Fit Kids that exercise is sometimes difficult, but the harder you try, the easier it gets. That your body loves a challenge, and it’s impossible to beat the pride you’ll feel when you finally get something after weeks of working at it. And that you’ll be able to have fun for the rest of your life if you keep your body strong and healthy by giving it the exercise it needs and deserves.
You see, it’s not about tricking kids into having fun so that they’ll move more. It’s about developing a life-long personal relationship with exercise that they can feel good about and proud of.
It’s about that scrawny kid who hated exercise and now challenges his class-mates to plank position competitions. It’s about the heavy-set girl who didn’t have the confidence to join her friends on the jungle gym, but now is the first one up there at break time. It’s about the borderline overweight boy who claimed to be tired every time things got tough, but has learnt that by not giving up he can achieve things he never thought possible.
It’s about life-skills presented in an interesting, engaging way, that leaves children to find their own fun in achieving personal goals. And that for me is seriously FUN!!!