Kids are amazing and they have no shortage of clever quips and imaginative ideas. Sometimes the amount of stuff my oldest son comes up with kinda scares me, especially when he starts talking about some of the “advanced” weaponry he builds with his legos and various other toys. If he ever gets a mountain fortress and a swivelling chair while petting a white cat, we may have a world domination problem on our hands. But getting them interested in the things you do can be the biggest challenge. For me, it’s been getting my children interested in martial arts.
My oldest son Nathan had some moments of interest where he would emulate some of the movements and techniques I would practice during a given workout. It was cute, considering he used to do this prior to being a toddler. I have a great video clip where he comes out of his room and sees me training, and immediately drops into a horse-stance and does a kiai. I used to show that video to EVERYONE, as I absolutely loved the precision and ferocity he did it with.
This happened without my efforts to try and encourage him to do it. It gave me a slim hope that he would show some interest and perhaps prowess in karate and I would be able to start teaching him from a young age. I’ve seen the results of “forcing” children into karate, firsthand. The results are never positive. For this reason, I’ve always been an advocate of allowing children to make their own choice when it comes to sports and extracurriculars. That being said, Nathan has never shown an interest in learning beyond the occasional bout of floor grappling or “wrestling.”
When my second son, Alexander was born, he began to show some active interest almost immediately. As soon as he was able to walk without falling over, he would follow me around and do what I do. At only 2-year’s old, he currently practices punches, kicks and even lifts little 3-pound weights when I do resistance workouts. Although letting a small child use weights isn’t ideal, 3 pounds isn’t significant and it’s hilarious watching him do arm curls, trying to imitate me. Watching him on the punching bag is even better.
Beyond both of these scenarios of ultimate cuteness and adorability, one of the biggest issues is finding the time to do a proper workout when you have two small, rambunctious children clambering all over your legs. A good example was a few nights ago, when I was trying to do a short, weight workout in the living room. I’ve bring doing this push-up challenge called “Bring Sally Up,” lately (it’s been going well, BTW. Thanks for asking…) which requires the use of YouTube, since that’s where the video is. I prepped myself with a pair of shorts and a dry-fit hoodie with the hood up, which allows me to retain more heat and get a better sweat on.
The push-up challenge is about three and a half minutes long and at about the first minute mark, I raise my head just a touch to see a tiny, red-headed grin peeking into my hood. Hilarious, but obstructive. Then, as I was working through a set of dumbbell exercises, he was trying to emulate them with his 3-pounders. It would have been adorable if not for the fact that he was crowding my space and I had to keep moving or altering my sets in order to keep from cold-clocking him with a dumbbell.
I got the workout done, but it goes a long way towards showing how exercising with children involved can be complicated. The important thing is not only teaching children proper fitness safety as it pertains to proper stretching, not overdoing it and the dangers of the equipment you use, but trying to get it done for yourself in a safe, controlled manner. Kids don’t always get the potential dangers of exercise, especially with equipment. There’ll always be an excuse NOT to exercise but your children shouldn’t be one of them. ☯️