Do you remember watching your very first Olympic games as a child? The awe that these athletes inspired in you? The pride that welled up in your chest when you saw your countries flag on the podium? The excitement at seeing the world’s best gather to compete? As we get older, the Olympic still inspire us but we often forget just how magical they seem to a child. After all, four years is a long time when you’ve only been alive for one summer Olympics.
There’s no doubt about it, when they see elite athletes it’s easy to be inspired. They can make winning seem almost effortless. In reality, most of our children will not become elite athletes but there are great life lessons they can learn from the athletes. We’ve had the opportunity to chat with a few athletes in the past few months and here are a few healthy habits we’ve learned from them:
A positive mental state. Every athlete we spoke to talked about the importance of having an “I can” attitude. No one got to where they were without loosing more than once or being discouraged but what sets these athletes apart is their ability to fight through that and believe in themselves. Whether it’s Little League baseball or conquering math problems, a positive mental attitude is important for kids to develop.
Choosing healthy foods. Athletes tend to burn far more calories than the average person since they often train for 4-6 hours a day, but they know to make food choices that will fuel their body. A balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables on their plates allows them to perform at a high level. Helping your kids understand how important the right foods are to fuel their bodies for a day of fun, important learning at school or their athletic pursuit is a great lesson.
Getting good sleep. All of the athletes we talked to understood that they could not perform at their best without a good night’s sleep. This is a great reminder conversation to bring up when your child is fighting the bedtime routine.
To help you have those conversations with your children, we recorded some interviews with a few Olympic hopefuls and our very own Peri Stolic. Even though they didn’t qualify for the games this year, we think you’ll enjoy getting to know Randall and Stephanie. They are among the top twenty athletes in their field! And throughout the Olympics, we’ll be featuring an interview with former Olympic gymnast, Dominique Dawes, on our blog.