I’ve posted a question on a local moms forum asking what parents think are the root causes of Childhood Obesity/inactivity.
Certainly the typical ideas came forth: too much fast food, lack of exercise, not getting kids engaged in good habits early.
One idea did strike me and I’ve heard other moms tell me this. Heck, I even live this circumstance now:
One serious threat to youth activity is the lack of safety in our neighborhoods. We have so much access to information that we know when a sex offender moves into the ‘hood. We also hear about creeps on the news and evildoers who have even taken a child, hand-in-hand away from her backyard to bring her off premises.
With all this scary stuff afoot, moms and dads are definitely afraid to give their young kids especially too much liberty outside.
Has anyone ever polled parents to see if this comes up? Heck, for you IYCA parents out there, is this a factor in your life? Is organized sports the only recourse people see? Is there a solution to this or at least a good rib-tickling one-liner I can give these people? (Just goofing there)
Please chime in on your ideas.
Dr. Kwame Brown:
One-liner I use:
That’s why your kids need a certified play mate in their community. I don’t market myself or our programs as fitness programs. I drill it into my staff all the time that we are playmates, and here for fun.
Let them know HOW you will keep their kids safe, and let them know the risks that ARE involved.
I told parents at the last PTA meeting I spoke at that their kids would probably get bumps and bruises, and a couple might even cry. I also told them that my job was to EDUCATE children so that they could learn to keep themSELVES safe. Some wrote me checks that night.
I think parents are beginning to smell BS more readily, and are looking for solutions + honesty.
Let them know that you don’t offer organized sports, but instead offer organized play environments.
I think neighborhood safety is a HUGE issue. Trust me, I think about it 24/7. We live in a very safe area but it’s not impervious to those who wish to do bad to kids. However, this is not a problem without remedy. For me it is a simple matter of parental responsibility to monitor your children when they are outside or at least make darn certain a responsible adult is doing so.
I think it is a fundamental responsibility of a parent to take time away from work, chores, etc to spend time with your kids. So…carve out time to do this EVERY DAY outside. Even when they get older you can still be involved enough to “keep a direct line of sight.”
When you cannot…make sure you are getting them involved in a program that has adult supervision (organized sport, camps, music, clubs, etc).
I agree with Kwame.
The other side of this is that statistically crimes against children and sex related crimes against children are actually down. These crimes are, however, reported by the press 600 time more than before. I don’t have the exact stats but I know BG does.
The reality is that my family is also in the same boat. The media has us scared half to death. We don’t let my boys in our front yard unless we are present.
Back to Kwame’s point…educating the parents and the kids that our facility is a safe place is a must.
Great post and topic Liz.
What do you think? Leave your comments below: