My daughter rarely does what I tell her to do, but she certainly does what I do myself. She watches me like a hawk and mimics everything I do.
My theory is therefore that if I move well in front of her, this copying what I do will teach her good habits, which I hope will stick.
I believe I need to be a movement role model for my daughter, and this itself is a huge motivational factor in my life.
Promoting a good understanding of strength and muscular fitness to our kids is something that I wholeheartedly believe in as a parent.
As we get older, it is essential to maintain and strengthen our functional patterns such as the squat, lifting and carrying loads, and lunging. I believe it is a fundamental duty to pass this on to our young people.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) has stated that early adherence to a supervised fitness program (including strength training) could be key for later life adherence (notice the word adherence!) (Faigenbaum and McFarland, 2016).
This is extremely important, given that musculoskeletal conditions (low back pain etc.) are the biggest disability factor and that strength training has been linked to reducing injuries by up to 66% (Lauersen et al, 2013).
Further to this, I believe that parents who know the very basics of functional movement (how to squat, etc.) and who know how to make short educational sessions – leading with their own good technique during demonstrations – will encourage kids of all ages to engage with the journey towards perfecting human movement.
Think about it like this: if a child gets Maths and English homework that you need to help them with, what if they also got Movement homework, and you have to help them perfect their squat?
This is why it is so important for people working/parenting children to understand how they are moving themselves and to take note of how their kids may perceive this.
To see just exactly how you are performing the squat, film yourself and use our performance guide to assess your movement (film from the side and from the front).
Even better: get your kid(s) to film you and assess you – they will no doubt enjoy pointing out what you’re doing wrong, and it will really stick with them.
Any questions? Please just leave them in the comments.
You very own squat guide is available to download here.
Faigenbaum and McFarland (2016) Resistance Training For Kids: Right From The Start. American College of Sports Medicine, Health and Fitness Journal, Sep/Oct 2016
Lauersen et al. (2013) The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trails. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48: 871-877