a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Aug, 2010

Know More Do More: dance your face off

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Know More Do More

This was this weeks KMDM activity:

Have a dance-off in the kitchen after dinner tonight. Increased physical fitness and active living opportunities have positive effects on academic performance.

As I mentioned last week, I have no doubt that this is true. I know from personal experience that kids (and puppies!) who are physically active sleep better, eat better, and tend to be less whiny. All good things, right?

As for the dance-off idea, it is very fun. Unfortunately my tendency is to stick with this idea for awhile then forget about it and start up again. That being said, it’s a semi-regular thing in our house. This is how we do it:

1) I set the stereo to go off in the kitchen at 4:00 p.m.

2) This is the “signal” for me to (a) start making dinner and (b) for the kids to tidy up whatever they’re doing. (In theory, anyway.) Magically, they somehow gravitate to the kitchen.

3) Our music of choice is club/dance music. Don’t judge me. It gets us going. :)

4) We dance until we’re out of breath or I really need to start making dinner, whichever comes first.

I find the dance-off idea works much better before dinner. After dinner we’re rushing to feed Piper, clear the table, go for our after-dinner dog walk and do our Focused 15. (Although admittedly we’ve fallen off the wagon on that one a little bit. Time to climb back on!)

It is fun, lots of fun. We wiggle, we waggle, we form a conga line and strike poses. We laugh a lot. Even Piper got into the mix this week.

I’ve been doing this KMDM gig since April and have had lots of time to reflect on this campaign. I know there are some people who don’t think that dancing in the kitchen is going to do anything to solve the problem of childhood obesity. And in a way they’re right. Dancing around for a few minutes every day isn’t going to help anyone lose weight, but I truly believe that healthy habits start young.

When the girls ask why we don’t eat white bread or guzzle Gatorade after playing frisbee in the park or drive a Hummer we say: “Because this is the way we do things in our family.”   I know very well that they might eventually move out of the house and eat nothing but fast food and pop and ramen noodles, but that’s ok. I am confident they know what’s right and that they’ll eventually go back to living a healthy lifestyle. They’ve grown up in a household in which things like hiking, camping, swimming, nature, exploration, cycling, are done on a regular basis. They’ve grown up knowing those things are fun, and odds are they will continue to think they’re fun as they get older. And maybe even raise their own kids in the same way. Who knows.

It’s up to us to teach our kids and show them that being active is better than being sedentary. Dancing in the kitchen is part of that.

Little kids are a blank slate, and as parents we are shaping our children and building the foundations for a healthy future. It is my job to teach my kids how to count to ten, share their toys, and tie their shoes. It is also my job to tell them what foods are good and what foods are bad… and explain why. We need to show them that we only have ONE body, a finely tuned machine that needs care and attention. And this might be simplifying things too much, but we need to take care of it otherwise it will fall apart later on. There is not better gift we can give our children than the gift of good health.

This post is part of the Know More Do More initiative which was spearheaded by the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network. KMDM is about empowering parents and inspiring them to take charge of their children’s health by taking easy steps to increase activity levels and improve eating habits. I’m one of two champion families who has been asked to take this challenge. You can join too. Check out the official website for more information. If you’re blogging about your participation, please let me know so we can cheer each other on! You can read all of my past weekly challenges here.


1 Response to "Know More Do More: dance your face off"

1 | Sara

August 3rd, 2010 at 3:32 pm

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Thanks for a great post. I was thinking today about how its the little things that add up and that one day my explanations of growing food and fun food will stick. Or least made a teensy bit of difference when they have to make their own menu decisions ;)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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