Written by Coach Liz Van Winkle
Research and clinical psychology overwhelming show that habits – both positive and negative – are formed at an early age. This is especially true for your children as it comes to health, as kids who start exercising at a younger age are far less likely to struggle later in life with health and fitness (Read: Young at heart: why children who exercise become healthier adults). The longer that negative habits are ingrained in us, the harder they are to break. The same is true, though, for positive habits. This is one of the driving factors behind Friendship’s Youth Program. Your kids will understand healthy choices and how to properly move their bodies, all while having so much fun that they don’t realize that they are establishing lifestyle habits that will carry them forward into lives that are happy and healthy.
The newest addition to Friendship’s Youth Program is our Tots class. This class was inspired, in part, by my personal desires to get my older daughter (who was four years old at the time) involved in our gym but understanding that she was too physically and emotionally young for our Kids class. Much like you, it didn’t seem like Addy needed this outlet, but much to my surprise she wanted it! Your kids will see this class happening and want to participate. Your child might even beg you to come to the gym! How cool is that?!
We often joke that kids move, play and act much like we wish we could as adults. Our walls hold the statement: “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.” It shows us that using our body, running, smiling, laughing and playing with others can be FUN! In this sense the class can also be impactful for you, the parent, as well.
Each class is structured with a coach led warm-up, skill or movement of the day, and a workout, with a fun, but fitness-related, game at the end. We work on jumping and landing, proper squatting, basic gymnastics, and picking up and carrying objects. And we get to do cool things, like climb ropes, swing on pull-up bars, and climb over boxes.
Your child will certainly gain confidence, body awareness, and general athleticism. They also get reinforcement in social (taking turns, teamwork) and academic (counting, active listening) skills. Most importantly, they learn that fitness is fun! Your kids will also get a team of mentors and get to see bigger kids, their parents, and coaches who all lead active, healthy, and happy lives. There are very few other opportunities in the world where mom, dad, and all the kids can participate in the same activities, in the same facility and share that common ground! This creates a very positive space for your child (Importance of Creating Positive Environment for Kids)
My daughter looks forward to her “workout” every week and loves practicing her skills at home. She’s proud of what her body can do and I’m so much looking forward to watching her and our other Tots progress through Friendship’s Youth Program. Inside this program, your child will be a stronger, more confident and significantly more focused person!