Monkeying Around – Dads, Get Active With Your Little Monkeys…

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Prince Charles once said, “I learned the way a monkey learns – by watching its parents.” If this is true, dads, what are your children learning from you?

Are you the monkey who’s busy watching football or answering email on your smartphone? Or are you the dad who’s in the pool with your young monkey, teaching him the art of underwater somersaults?

Modeling an active lifestyle is important to help ensure your child leads a healthy, rich life.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends children enjoy an hour’s worth of activity at least five days a week. Becoming involved and playing alongside your kids will get them excited to get moving. They love your attention, so something as simple as going for a walk together or playing a game of catch can engage your children. Before you know it, their hour of exercise (and yours!) is up.

Here are some ideas to encourage you to get swinging – and jumping and running – around with your own little monkeys.

art-0901-dad2Introduce them to your passions

Do you love basketball? Water skiing? Golf? Take your kids along. Chris Chase of Mount Shasta says you have to go into it with the right attitude … your children may not enjoy the same activities as you.

Your child won’t be able to ride a two-wheeler or sink a basket on their first attempt. To ensure you both don’t get frustrated, be sure to praise them for their effort. With patience, weaving your children into the things you love allows parents to pass on a cherished skill and provides an activity you can enjoy together for years to come.

Chris is passing on his love of fishing and hunting to his children: 16-year-old Sam, 14-year-old Carter, 12-year-old Sydney, and 8-year-old Jackson. The family generally rifle hunts for deer in the fall and sometimes hunts quail, Chris says. “It’s a great activity to enjoy outside. They’re learning a skill, and it really completes the circle – they actually see where their food is coming from.”

Consider coaching

Even if you don’t have the time or expertise to be the head coach of your kid’s soccer, baseball, or rugby team, coaches generally appreciate all the assistance they can get. Volunteer to help out – pitch some batting practice, or offer to lead small groups during soccer practice. You’ll be doing a good deed and will be getting active with your children at the same time.

Capay’s Pascual Padilla’s passion is coaching – an activity he does year-round at GT Sports Club, which draws kids from Glenn and Tehama counties to play basketball and baseball. As the father of four – 13-year-old Alex, 11-year-old Johnny, 3-year-old Isabella and 1-year-old Cordero – coaching provides Pascual a way to spend quality time with his children.

Gary Moniz, owner of Competitive Edge Athletics in Red Bluff, says he enjoys a plethora of activities with his children, 7-year-old Cannon and 15-year-old Caden, including hiking, kayaking at Whiskeytown Lake, and snowboarding at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

Gary has been coaching football at Red Bluff High School for 10 years, and though Caden describes himself as “more of a computer guy,” he still loves getting out there and training with his dad. “It’s an amazing experience being with him. He’s helping me get stronger,” Caden says.

art-0901-dad3Look for fun

Check out new, fun places to visit in your city or town, such as Rare Air Trampoline Park in Redding, or the bouldering walls at Shasta Base Camp in Mount Shasta.

“Rare Air is a place for families,” says owner Ryan Thomas, who is the father of two young boys, 4-year-old Ryder and 14-month-old Reid. “We are very passionate about families spending time away from technology and having active, healthy fun incorporated into their family time.”

A few other ideas: Get your heart pumping on the new track at Heart Attack Go-Kart Racing in Chico or the Oasis Speedway in Shasta Lake City. Enjoy thrilling rides and slides at WaterWorks Park or take a stroll at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, both in Redding. Or try your “swing” at miniature golfing at Funland in Chico, Oasis Fun Center in Shasta Lake City, or Lariat Bowl in Red Bluff.

Follow their lead

Once in a while, do what your kids like to do, whether it means playing a game they just made up, or playing hide and seek in your backyard.

“It’s important, because it sends the message ‘I care about you,’ Chris Chase says. “Sometimes it can be a challenge for a parent to do activities that they aren’t excited about, but it’s worth it when you see your kids’ eyes light up.”

Ryan Thomas suggests dads step out of their comfort zone to try new activities. “I by no means am a good fisherman,” he says. “It wasn’t something I did much growing up. Several months back, my 4-year-old boy asked me to take him out. I remember being a bit hesitant – I didn’t want to disappoint him because of my lack of experience. We did fail the first few times out, but we had a great time away from technology just conversing and talking about finally catching that first fish. Fast forward a few months and it has become a weekly activity for us to bond … we even catch fish regularly now.”

Make time for the little things

Gary Moniz says he carves out family time whenever he can. “I’m just a goofball with my kids,” he says. “We make forts, put up a tent on our trampoline … time flies by and you can never get it back.”

“Make time to be with your kids. They’re only little for so long, and then before you know it, they’re out of the house,” says Pascual Padilla. “They’ll remember the little things … the games we played and the fun things we did together.” 

Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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