We are all familiar with the famous saying “There is no I in team”, well did you know there is a U in team? Yes, no typo here- there is a YOU in team! In fact this is probably the most important letter.
Thriving is a program where your child comes to develop their skills mentally and physically; a place where they can grow in a fun productive way. Unfortunately though this may only happen once a week. Therefore it is important for you to jump on board and be involved to continue your child’s progress.
Most authors of research would agree that for a change of lifestyle and motivational levels, a family-based approach is best suited for the child1. A study by Grønbæk et al. in 2009 found that if the parent of the individual themselves dropped out of the program or had poor adherence, a higher rate of the child dropping out of the program was associated(1).
As for those parents who continued to participate throughout the entire intervention, the children on average lost 0.5 off their BMI scores and body fat percentage decreased by 2%(1)
Another study found that children who had participating parents in the program showed higher gains in their sit and reach flexibility, timed sit ups and a significant reduction in their dietary intake of saturated fats(2).
These activities or programs don’t have to have a particular structure; it is simply about doing things as a family outside of their normal activities. For example, Mullhall and team in 2011 conducted a study that looked at weekend children activity levels and if parents were involved would there be an increase(3).
With family involvement children completed 3 or more days a week of bicycling, walking, jogging, swimming or neighbourhood sports. This is compared to non-family involvement of just once a week(3).
Of course you don’t have to figure this all out on your own. Studies have shown that when a parent communicates regularly with their child’s mentor of the program, the child’s confidence, participation and communication skills are increased further(4). This means you can work with the Thriving team to discuss methods of exercise delivery that work best and tips to help their engagement.
Changing exercise habits has to be a TEAM effort, so come along, ask questions and see what YOU can do as part of your child’s team! Remembering we are all in this together!
1. (Grønbæk, H., Madsen, S. and Michaelsen, K. (2009). Family involvement in the treatment of childhood obesity: the Copenhagen approach. European Journal of Pediatrics, 168(12), pp.1437-1447.
2. Hopper, C., Gruber, M., Munoz, K. and Herb, R. (1992). Effect of Including Parents in a School-Based Exercise and Nutrition Program for Children. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 63(3), pp.315-321.
3. Mulhall, P., Reis, J. and Begum, S. (2011). Early Adolescent Participation in Physical Activity: Correlates with Individual and Family Characteristics. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8(2), pp.244-252.
4. The relationship among family involvement, mentoring programs, and student social interaction in a suburban middle school. (2018). Ph.D. Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.