I quite often blog, tweet and post on instagram about what we get up to as an #activefamily and how I’m proud my children are #activekids. They do seem to love exercise, yes, sometimes I have to give them a bit of encouragement but they don’t usually take much persuading. I was curious to find out how they really felt about their own activity and exercise in general so I decided to ask them.
As a parent I’m always careful to make sure I’ve asked my child’s opinion about things, from what they feel like eating, to where they want to go on holiday. I think it’s important they feel that they’ve been listened to. I don’t always follow what they say, but do take it into account! I was worried they might see it as homework (they get more than enough of that) but they were well up for the idea and scurried off with the questions and proudly returned their answers. They’re really interested in my blog, particularly the world map which shows where my readers are from; they like it when I involve them.
I have two sons age 13 and 11 and a 9 year old daughter. Here are their answers. This wasn’t meant to be a clinical study to determine how exercise should be taught in schools or how to improve the nation’s child health, I was just genuinely interested to find out their replies. I am after all writing regularly on the topic!
What exercise do you enjoy doing, which is your favourite and why?
Climbing, cycling, running, swimming. Climbing is my favourite because you have to use your brain as well as your strength.
Running, football and cricket. Running is my favourite because it’s easy to go out for a run and I am best at it out of the three.
Dance and gymnastics. My favourite is dance because it includes having fun and moving around.
What’s the best thing about exercise?
You can do it with your friends and you feel good afterwards.
It keeps you fit, healthy and gets you outside.
Having fun and doing your best.
Do you like doing PE and games at school?
A ‘Yes’ from all three.
Are there children in your school who don’t like PE and games and why do you think that is?
Yes. They don’t do much exercise out of school so can’t keep up.
Yes. They find it boring so they don’t try as much as they could.
Yes. Some of them just prefer to do quiet things.
What would make it better for them?
If they committed to even doing a bit more exercise after or before school they might enjoy it more.
If they could do games with other children that aren’t that sure either.
Do you think it makes a difference if your parents do lots of exercise?
Yes because it can influence whether you do it yourself. For example if my mum goes on a run I ask to go with her. I might not always think about going on a run otherwise.
Yes because they start teaching their kids who teach it to their kids.
What would you say to encourage a child who doesn’t like exercise and just wants to play on a computer game?
I would tell them that exercise makes you feel good and if you keep doing it you will get better. Not doing exercise can lead to heart problems and diabetes.
You could reward them for doing exercise or maybe get them to watch the Olympics or something to inspire them to get out and get healthy.
Tell them going on an iPad so much isn’t good for you or your bones and it can make you ill.
Have you got any exercise dreams or targets for the future, something you’d love to do one day?
To be a professional climber.
I would love to be in the 5k race at the Olympics or win the football World Cup.
I would love to dance with the Royal Ballet School or dance on The Next Step TV show.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from their answers and after reading them what came to mind were the lyrics of a song originally recorded in 1977 but made famous (to me) by Whitney Houston in 1985:
I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…