Thank you for selecting My Trainer to assist your child with their health & wellness. Childhood lethargy and resulting health problems are a real issue in today’s society. Congratulations on taking steps towards improving this situation for your child. We take our responsibilities to your family seriously. We want to see your child succeed in exercise where they may have previously failed. For this reason we have developed a number of guidelines & requirements for parents of children who train with us. It is essential that these conditions be met for your child to gain the most benefit from their program.
- Children must be dressed & ready to start on time. Many children are skilled at avoiding activities they are not good at. As such, they usually find ways to get out of physical activity. Delaying the session by waiting until the trainer arrives to dress, and taking their time to do so, all reinforce this bad behaviour. The sessions will start on time whether they are ready or not.
- Children must eat a healthy breakfast every day. See handouts for appropriate choices for your child. Most adults who are overweight skip breakfast. This is a habit formed in childhood & adolescence. Breakfast is essential for starting the metabolism and maintaining energy throughout the day. Supervise your child if you must. NB: Pay close attention to nutrition labels, many breakfast products targeted at children are extremely high in sugar. Don’t just look at the RDI (these are often based on adult requirements), aim for less than 20% sugar. If you need help choosing ask your trainer.
- Parents must adhere to dietary recommendations. If you expect to see results in your child, you must take responsibility for their eating patterns. Your trainer will make recommendations on choices, frequency & portion sizes. When helping children lose weight, we focus on simply meeting their daily requirements not on restricting their intake. Most children are taking in too many calories, due to energy dense foods, such as breakfast bars, soft drinks, and white bread. We suggest that parents eat the same foods as their children and set a good example of variety. Sitting down to dinner at the table and serving as many vegetables as you can will set a great example.
- Respect your child’s appetite. Children develop their eating habits at a very early age. Stressful dinner times as a toddler may lead to poor habits that can last a lifetime. Remember that it is up to you to decide what to serve and when, but your child will decided if and how much they eat. By forcing your child to finish everything on their plate, rather than stopping when they feel they have had enough, they are being taught to ignore their body’s “full feeling”. This usually leads to over eating later in life.
- No soft-drink ever! Soft drink, cordial and fruit juice are extremely high in sugar. Diet soft drinks are full of much worse. Simply by cutting out soft drink alone, most people lower 25% of their calorie intake. Water is best.
- Regularly encourage & praise your child. Many overweight children are subtly and overtly criticised by their parents, siblings, friends and teachers. For some it is a chronic problem. Positive reinforcement is essential and will do wonders for your child. Avoid all negative descriptors of your child and do not allow others to put them down or tease them. If you suspect an issue of bullying speak to teachers or other leaders who may be able to help. Children’s self esteem is fragile, especially in the overweight child. If you want to break a bad cycle, encouragement is the only way.
- Participate in the exercise activities with your child. Do not expect a child to do their exercise homework on their own, they simply will not do it. Whatever the homework is that has been prescribed by the trainer, do it yourself. Sitting on the couch watching your child exercise is not helping. The session with the trainer is not enough to create real change in your child. You must make take them exercising every day to help them embrace this new lifestyle. Walk or bike them to school, take the stairs, kick the footy, run around the park with them, jump on the trampoline, dance. Limit sedentary activities (computer, games, TV etc) as rewards for doing their exercise.
- Be patient. Changing years of poor habits takes time. It may take a year or more for your child to reach their ideal weight. We follow Doctors recommendations of helping children grow into their bodies, by using up excess energy so they stop putting on body fat. Even in adults this process takes time. You will not see dramatic results in a child with a healthy weight loss approach. They will often have peaks & troughs of results & enthusiasm.
- No Excuses. We make a commitment to support your family to achieve a healthy lifestyle for your child. We expect you to do the same. Personal training with your child is not babysitting, not “just a bit of fun” or a substitute for proper parental role modeling. We will educate you and give you the tools to continue health & fitness as a lifelong habit for your family. It is up to you to take what we teach you and set an example of healthy choices and sticking to the plan. Giving in to excuses is not part of the plan. Commitment is part of success.