Fitness has become an important part of my families’ life. My wife and I have committed to giving each other the time we need to exercise. In fact, the most acceptable excuse for a change to ‘the schedule’ is to catch a workout. Spring through early winter consists of a series of outdoor adventures where we increasingly challenge our children to hike, bike, and swim a little more than they did last year. Selfishly, the more independent they become the move activities we can do as a family and any chance to spend time together outside is golden.

Given our love of physical activity, you would think we would be excited to have our children participate in organized sports. I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with kids sports. I love watching my kids try something new, but I dislike the beginning of organized competition. If we’re being honest, we all want our kids to be successful, but not every child will be a star. Also, I simply don’t have the focus needed to watch very young children chase a ball and I have even less patience for the parents screaming from the sidelines about how their child should ‘get the ball’. Even less exciting is the cost, programs scheduled at the most inconvenient times of the day, and yet another activity to prepare for in an already hectic schedule.

So far, we’ve had mixed experiences. Our children enjoy the social aspects of attending sporting programs, but definitely struggle with the expectations to listen and engage in the lessons. We are not ambitious or driven parents, so they have very little pressure to perform. My one true nightmare sports program was a running group. My son’s comment says it all, “the class would be better if we actually ran.” We could have saved ourselves the program fee and several ugly meltdowns experienced by my daughter when she was shamed by the instructor for running. I’m actually not kidding and still fuming. We ultimately ran with our kids, an activity Sharlene continues to do, creating an awesome family experience.

This year we are trying more individualized sports. Some of the literature for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit recommend more independent sports including swimming, karate, and running. Even our very typical child responds well to these more independent sports. I have to admit to being excited that one or more of these sports will be a lifelong activity or at least a bridge to a healthy life.

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