Kids & Fitness

What are your options?

We all want what is best for our children. We want them to have the right nutrition, the right education, the right friends, and, of course, the right choices in fitness. The right choice for your child could involve anything from dance and baseball to soccer and martial arts. With so many different options available, it can be tough to choose the right one for your child. Let's explore how to determine which fitness outlet best suits your child.

Most importantly, you need to identify why you want your child involved in some type of fitness-based activity. What is it that you want your child to gain? Is your child a couch potato, stuck on that new video game? Does he have attention and focus issues? Does he suffer from coordination issues? Is he the star athlete whose talents you want to hone to get that big lacrosse scholarship one day? Once you identify the reasons, do some research regarding various types of programs and discuss them with your child. Together, come to a decision about which sport or activity is the most appealing.

Once you've determined your reasoning, it's time to start interviewing potential studios, coaches, and programs. Whenever speaking with fitness professionals, always address them with the same level of respect, courtesy, and professionalism that you'd expect. If they are truly passionate about their career in fitness, they will appreciate this and go above and beyond for your family. If you're just looking for the best price in town, be cautious that you may be sacrificing quality. Price shouldn't be the only consideration when looking around for programs.

Contract considerations

Martial arts, dance, yoga, and other fitness studios will often sell a contract for kids' programs. Be cautious when it comes to long-term contracts, and always ask questions. Little children often change their minds about an activity after a few trial months. You don't want to be stuck paying for classes 18 months after your kid has already moved on to another interest.

Safety first

It is a common misconception that every fitness teacher is certified and trained to work with kids. You would be astonished to know how few instructors actually are CPR certified. You should always ask what certifications the instructors hold before signing your child up for lessons. Also remember that there is no governing body for many types of classes and activities. Anyone, whether experienced or not, can open a dance studio, martial arts studio, Parkour gym, training center, etc.

A great interview question for parents to asking is: "In what kinds of continuing education courses do you and your instructors participate?" The fitness world is always evolving, and you want a facility that is up to date on the newest concepts and safety precautions. If an instructor has a background in medicine, bodywork, or nutrition, that's a definite plus!

Set an example

Nothing helps kids stick with their fitness program more than active parents. When parents are active in fitness, kids are much more likely to commit to their program. It doesn't have to be the same sport or activity, but when parents are active, kids will be, too. Try and set the best example for your children by maintaining your own health and fitness. Don't underestimate this simple win-win formula.

Before making any hasty decisions, take the time to identify your reasoning, interview instructors, study contracts, and ensure continuing education. Most importantly, commit to a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Employ these simple methods, and you're sure to make the best fitness choices for your family.