I am going to start working with a 4th grader for the first time. And need help from experienced trainers with that age group. She’s not all that wild about the idea, so it has to be fun. I have all the typical toys: ropes, ladders, balls, sandbags/bells, etc. I have 30 years experience as a trainer, so don’t need basic trainer advice. just need a format and some tips to keep it moving. about her: she is on a swim team and takes hip-hop at the dance studio. Her mother is concerned about her weight and would like her to be influenced by the idea of exercise being fun.
I would bet that kids of that age might be more apt to participate and enjoy exercise in a group of friends. Is it possible to train this girl with a good friend or friends or team mates? She might be a more willing participant that way, and if she does it with team mates, she might not feel so singled out or “forced” to do it.
There are tons of games you can play:
Deck of cards – each suit is an exercise/each card value is your reps
Ladders – each set adds to 10 reps i.e. set one = 9 burpees/1 squat; set 2 = 8 burpees/2 squats etc.
Dice – roll one for exercise from a list of 6 and then roll a second for reps (and even a 3rd for number of sets if you want).
Pick an exercise out of a hat
Do challenges – how long can you hold left side plank? right side plank? How many lunges can you do in a row without resting etc.
I would just make it fun, you can still teach good form and interject basic principles of fitness that will serve her her whole life but in a fun way.
I am also sure that her mother is very well-intentioned and just wants her daughter to be healthy, but you never know how a child might internalize that. I am just speaking generally, and not specific to your situation as I am not familiar with anyone involved, but parents can have a profound effect on how kids view their bodies, and could have negative effects even with the best intentions. I would make sure her training is totally focused on fun, getting stronger/fitter, better at her sports etc. and that weight loss and torching calories (while it might be a by product) are not mentioned or a big deal.
Sounds like you have lots of experience and tools at your disposal, and I am sure you can come up with tons of fun for her. Good luck!