A letter to the fellow mom friends!
Written By: Shantel Linden
After my 6-year-old daughter completed her third triathlon, an overwhelming amount of congratulations was given. So many encouraging words and positive thoughts. I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter. I love running and biking with my daughter because there is a lot of bonding and no money required. We just put on our shoes, after a long day at work or school and just enjoy the moment.
After some of those praises were slights.
My daughter’s competitions are based on age. Triathlon’s consist of swimming, biking and running. This particular race was .25 mile run, 25-yard swim, and a 1-mile bike. The most she competed was a .5 mile run, 50-yard swim, and a 3-mile bike. The average race took about 10 min total. Parents tend to act as if this time trialed races are “too much”, “too fast”, or even “too daring”.
In response to those parents, I don’t know a child who cannot run .25 miles even without training! Second, what child doesn’t love riding their bike. Lastly, at the age of 5 your child should be able to swim one length of a pool for general safety.
I grew up in the 80’s, where biking was a past time. I biked on a daily basis up to ten miles a day in middle school. I would bike around the neighborhood trying to find all the neighborhood kids. It was pretty simple to pick out where everyone was based on the bikes sitting out on the front lawn. No cellphones, no texts, no special coordination or invitation was required. “Play dates” wasn’t even a “thing” then, you just simply played.
So yes, my daughter competes in triathlons amongst her many other interests she dabbles into. One thing I make structured is her exercise routine. What once was a normal past time, running around with your friends, biking to their house and having pool parties is now “structured”. It’s important to me. It’s fun for her. She’s extremely energetic and full of great ideas. When we exercise together, it helps her concentration and it helps us build a relationship we would not otherwise have.
I was reading and article from NPR talking about how kids are less fit today than before. Children are taking 90 seconds longer to run a mile that they did 30 years ago! http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/11/20/246316731/kids-are-less-fit-today-than-you-were-back-then
Another article states how are children couldn’t even compete against their parents at the same age. http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/todays-children-less-fit-than-previous-generations-1830.aspx
Safety concerns, OH MY GOODNESS. I get the safety concern push back almost daily. Bumps, bruises, and scraps! HAVE MERCY if someone scraps their knee! Every time my daughter fell off her bike and scraped her knee, I would (make sure she is okay) then congratulate her on her “battle wounds”. Bumps, bruises, and scraps are a part of life. Traveling back in time once again, I did NOT wear helmets and pads when I ran through the puddles with my bike. The boys in the neighborhood would be down in their underwear running over homemade ramps. A lot of girls would be in our bathing suits riding in the rain.
If kids are living in fear in everything they do, I am almost scared what the children of our future will be like? Will everyone be living inside the box, inside their google, inside their apps and tablets? Running is too much! Biking is unsafe, you need to look like Big Hero 6 before getting on your bike, and swimming for a period of time might make your kid too tired.
If you’re reading this article, please ask yourself how much to you care about your child’s health. Do you care about your own? Your lifestyle impacts how your child lives their life. Little toddlers who are fed electronics will grow up in their teenage years doing the same. Don’t be alarmed if they give you push back on why you tried to tell them to get off their phone.
Last but not least, stop the safety umbrella. Yes, of course be safe! But don’t have a checklist of safety guidelines so much that your child is in fear before they even begin! It’s okay to fall, it’s okay to fail!
I will continue to do my exercise routine with my daughter, which just happens to end up being a competitive fun sport for her. I love when she wins, and like when she learns to lose. Not everyone can be winner. Not everyone is going to go through life without scrapes and hiccups. The little things in life are taught in sports when they are young. Somethings are not taught in schools. These are the stepping stones in life. Embrace them.
Owner of Bella Fitness