This chapter offers suggestions about how to integrate playful exercise into your family life. You can help your son or daughter develop a stronger body image by nurturing positive attitudes toward fitness and vigorous physical activity. Strive for self-understanding while at the same time respecting your child’s inherent individuality. No matter what your age or interests, parental responsibility can be a constructive impetus to take better care of yourself. If you are not a parent, getting in shape can still help you to be a healthier role model for other family members, maybe even your own mom or dad.
Do you have a young child? Support your son’s or daughter’s natural drive toward physical competence. Stimulate an interest in play even during infancy. Attentive fathers are especially likely to engage in physically arousing activities with their young children. Dads tend to be more spontaneous and less structured, whereas moms are more likely to play repetitive games aimed at teaching specific skills. Whatever your gender, you can involve your child in vigorously active pastimes.
There is no need to hurry a child into highly organized activities. Nevertheless, some overly zealous parents even enroll their babies in exercise classes. Some boys and girls are already receiving formal coaching in particular sports well before their fifth birthdays but such experiences can actually be counterproductive. To increase