Friday, July 9, 2010

Running in the House: Raising Athletes

Right now my children are trying to play by my treadmill. Bad idea. But such is the problem of living in a 100 year old duplex - no place to completely hide the treadmill. It is covered with a sheet (out of sight out of mind for the kids) behind my front door.

And since I run in the house, I allow my children to run in the house, much to the angst of many older people in my family and probably our renters next door. Kurt and I not only allow it, we encourage it. I put on music; this morning it is Tchaikovsky. The children run through the house at high speed. We arranged the furntirue to allow for a large straightaway. Kurt sometimes declares "Family Olympics" and sets up hurdles of couch pillows. (He is the state 300 hurdle champ from 1996 so he can't resist the training of young hurdlers!). We want our children to be athletes.

However, we have read some disturbing stats recently that have changed our view of organized sports. I am reading a book called Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. Even with the rise of organized sports, childhood obesity is an out of sight problem. So, we have a few of our own ideas of how we are raising our little athletes. We are just starting on this journey so be patient with us....

We are first and foremost teaching the children that they are created good by God. We frequently tell them the story of how we prayed for children and God created them in heaven and sent them to Mommy's tummy. We tell them that their bodies are good and to listen to what their body is telling them (tired, hungry, thirsty, potty....). It has been so paramont for them to listen to themselves and then communicate to us their needs. I think that physical body awareness is a powerful asset to an atheltic person.

We do not allow TV. Period.

We take them to races. I only choose races that have kids races included. Most are free as well. Children learn by doing. We also "train" in the backyard, chasing and laughing from the house to the basketball hoop.

We believe in free play, less toys more open spaces. Using their creativity, they will run, jump, climb, and pretend for hours. Even if I get the rare "I'm bored" it usually lasts for two seconds until they start playing again, or fighting as the case may be. (We think with Nathan's hitting spree maybe boxing is his given sport!).

And last but not least, we encourage the running in the house. While not for every family, or every house, we do highly recommend creative ways of giving children the freedom to be themselves. And that means they are usually running. I want them to keep that passion for running their whole lives because I believe that they were created to run. I pray that they will "feel His pleasure" when they run fast and strong.

What are some of the activities your family does to keep children moving this summer (or in the winter especially!)? We are always need more ideas because their motors never stop....

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