A Youth Fitness Coach can be helpful in the following scenarios:
"My child doesn't like organized sports or hates the idea of 'exercise.'"
Sometimes it’s more about what parents want than what the child wants. Parents tend to have their own agenda when it comes to their children. Playing organized sports, attending classes and/or other structured activities does not have to be the ONLY method of physical activity. In fact, less structured activities can be a great start for kids who dislike the organized approach. Your child needs a trainer who can create sessions around fun activities that aren’t typical gym routines and should include input from your child. In other words, the trainer should be helping your child find activities he or she enjoys and can do on their own. Lastly, these activities should be creative, imaginative, and engaging. There’s a great saying about life: “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This same concept applies to kids and exercise. If they find something they love to do, they won’t think of it as exercise.
"My child is self-conscious playing sports or trying new activities."
A child who is a reluctant athlete might feel extra nervous when a coach barks out orders or the focus is on winning. This can be powerfully de-motivating. However, all of this can be overlooked because society tells us our children must learn to play with others and develop certain skills in a timely fashion. What if your child doesn’t fit this cookie-cutter lifestyle? Do we want to discourage them even more? Instead, shouldn’t we be trying to optimally motivate kids through purposeful direction? I have found that kids who are self-conscious, do not enjoy being singled out, or don’t like to try new activities, respond well to personal communication. By directing questions, suggestions, and tasks to the child privately, rather than publicly, we can make them feel safe and not “on display.” Some kids may be motivated by competitive play, but what about the kids who are not? Those kids need a trainer who understands how to create a safe, fun, and engaging environment, and, within a reasonable amount of time, understands how to gradually introduce competitive activities.
"My child has some health issues and I prefer supervised exercise sessions."
First and foremost, you should consult your child's physician, especially if there are health concerns, before beginning an exercise or sports routine. That being said, there are infinite benefits to physical activity (see the link "Benefits of Exercise" at the top of this page) under the supervision of a trained fitness professional. Parents have a tendency to overestimate their child’s level of fitness and physical activity. A youth fitness specialist can help asses your child’s level of fitness. Another saying: “slow and steady wins the race.” There is nothing wrong with starting slow and progressively increasing levels of exercise. The most important aspect of physical activity, when it comes to children, is injury prevention. You need a youth fitness trainer who is adaptive and understands how to accommodate health issues while, at the same time, implements core aspects of building overall strength and endurance.
"My child is self-conscious about their body image."
Today, appearance means everything, or at least that’s the message that’s constantly broadcast by the media. It’s more and more common for kids to be interested in appearances - their own as well as others. Kids are more aware of how they look because of social media, magazines, etc. They’re being subjected to unrealistic body images. Body image affects more than just kids' outward appearances; it affects their feelings as well. Having a healthy body means having both physical and mental balance. It means accepting and appreciating ourselves. Developing a healthy body image happens over time, but it’s a known fact that physical activity can speed up this process. Physical activity not only shapes the body, but it also molds the mind. Being active can boost self-esteem and confidence. In addition, physical activity prompts the release of endorphins, which typically make people feel good about themselves. As a youth fitness specialist, I prepare kids for the physical and mental challenges they face on a daily basis. For example, being criticized or teased because of their physical appearance can be extremely hurtful. I teach kids how to see themselves (and others) beyond just physical appearance. I use exercise as a platform to help build strong core values and teach life lessons. Overall, being different is what makes us all unique. As you know, if we were all the same, life would be boring.
"My child’s schedule is jam-packed with school, homework, after-school activities, and there is not enough time to squeeze physical activity into an already crowded schedule."
There is no doubt that kids today are in a time crunch. Free time has declined and kids are spending more time than ever in sedentary activities. In fact, a lot of free time kids have is spent in front of some sort of screen (TV, Computer, iPhone, iPad). Technology is not bad, but it’s an easy distraction that takes time away from things that are truly important. Being busy is the new norm. Therefore, it’s important to find balance. Too much or too little of something is never good. We need to find a happy medium. The one common denominator we all share is good health. Without our health it’s hard to be busy with anything. It’s recommended that kids get at least one hour of physical activity every day. Before you protest that your kids don’t have enough time, try breaking up their activities into shorter time blocks. Even the busiest kids can make time to walk the dog, shoot some hoops, and, perhaps, clean up their room and make their bed. :)