Let’s face it, in this day and age of “go-go-go,” it can be challenging as parents to balance all of our responsibilities of effectively providing for our families AND being healthy, good role models for our kids. The great thing is, you can combine quality time with your kids and exercise in one! Below, I will prove that working out is safe for kids, and that certain workouts can actually turn into fun, shared family experiences that will get everyone moving.
An easy way to make fitness a priority for your kids is by integrating healthy habits into your everyday life TOGETHER without feeling like you are adding more to your plate. As a result, these fitness habits will become ingrained in your kids’ lives as well. Instead of thinking you don’t have time to exercise, see about putting movement into what you are already doing. For example, when it is breakfast time, throw on some energetic tunes and have everyone jump, twist, roll and dance as they prepare breakfast for at least 5 minutes. This gets everyone moving, energized and revved up for the day!
Another example is to create an obstacle course as everyone does their chores. Time their chores like cleaning up bedrooms and make it a competition between siblings. Of course everyone still has to do their work in a quality way…no just throwing things into drawers and under beds unless you have bins where it makes sense to do so. Under the time clock, you can also implement certain rules in the middle of each activity. For example, when the bed has been made, do 25 jumping jacks. The fastest winner then gets to pick a healthy reward!
By adding simple things in, you set the stage for a healthy and safe foundation for your kids that they will eventually carry on as adults. But give yourself some grace if your kids are older and you are just now getting started. No matter when, or how, your positive actions will leave impressions on them, so get up and get started!
There are so many things you can do and the trick is to start small, think outside the box, and take turns choosing what to do. Doing it consistently is a non-negotiable like brushing your teeth.
Some other kid-friendly activities include:
• Full body movement of Simon Says before, during, or after homework.
• Everyone climb, jump and run around the playground…not just the kids!
• Pull out the bikes and helmets and ride around the neighborhood for 5-30 minutes. See who can count the most mailboxes, houses, etc.
• Get out into nature and hike. Make it a learning adventure and do it as a scavenger hunt.
• Walk the dog.
• Find ways to do Pilates, yoga and meditation. There are videos on DVD and all over the internet. Sign up for a class together.
• Have a hula hoop contest
• Trampoline time!
• Throw on your favorite tunes and DANCE. Make a video if that makes it more fun and silly!
• Jump rope for a certain amount of time and beat your time from the previous one, or longer as your workout partner!
Elizabeth ‘Eli’ de Moraes is a Fabletics Master Trainer in the Dallas, TX area, mother of two and health coach focused on stress prevention and management.