Teaching my niece how to love her body AND be active too

Habits influence us more than we realise and habits inculcated since childhood are very hard to break.  This is the reason I refuse to be a fat shamer and I encourage people not to feel bad if they turn to comfort eating during times of stress.  But this post isn’t about this.  It’s about how we’re using habits to give my precious niece a headstart in healthy living.

As kids, we’re innocent to the world and we rely on the adults in our lives for guidance.  What they show and teach us will shape our attitudes after we grow up.  My grandparents and parents played huge roles in my life.  I’m passing on all that I learnt to Noe so that, hopefully, she blossoms into a confident young woman.

During my childhood, I had plenty of time to play.  After finishing homework and extra assignments my parents gave, I could do as I wished.  Grandma encouraged me to go outside and sit on the swing, although the poor woman was always afraid that I’d fall because this girl climbed onto the swing bars instead 😛  I also climbed the window grilles, prompting her to shriek, ‘Get down from there!  You’re a human, not a monkey!’

My parents took me to the park after work and before dinner started.  For a blissful hour, I played on the seesaw, swings, slippery dip and monkey bars, or played games such as hide-and-seek or police-and-thief with them.  Pa and Mummy weren’t afraid to get sweaty even in uncomfortable office clothes.  They enjoyed the activities.

My grandparents and parents also indulgently participated in the games I learnt in school – hop skotch, skip rope, etc.  Grandma even made me an ultra long rope using rubber bands.  It was so fun that not only my parents, but my auntie and cousins would take part in skipping.  Because being active was so habitual, I continued all the way into adulthood and fell into depression when I stopped in the years following my spine injury diagnosis.  Fortunately, I found ways to still be active and never looked back.

These are the habits Cherry and I are teaching Noe now.  Besides PE classes in school, she gets 1 hour daily to play at the playground with friends.  In addition, she does cartwheels, plays tennis and swims.  With so much time spent on hobbies during childhood and now, I didn’t obsess about body image.  We hope that Noe will grow up to be the same.

Giving your precious little princess a good headstart in life and body confidence is very important.  Sure, we can’t control what will happen in future.  But we CAN set an example for our little ones and do our best.



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