Are you having trouble finding the time to get in regular exercise because you’re busy with your kids? Time can usually be found somewhere, but it can be hard to find it until you have already built the new habit. In the meantime, a solution may be found in a simple compromise: move with them! That’s right, try out some of the cool ideas below that will allow you to get the regular fitness you want and need, all while teaching your kids to enjoy physical activity without even really thinking about it.
Beyond the immediate physical benefits of the activity, family fitness is also a great way to bond with your kids. You also help to build their individual confidence as they learn to master new skills and movements. At the end of the day, if we can raise confident healthy kids, we’ve accomplished some of the most important elements of parenting. So let’s take a look at a few fun ways that you can get active together.
Turn the sound up, push the coffee table to the side of the room, and choose catchy songs they like to sing. You can then invent choreography together, or organize a Dance Battle! Either way, participate with them. If the music isn't enough, look up some of their favorite YouTube video clips and imitate the dancers' movements. Getting silly with your kids can also encourage them to let their guards down around you which will open up communication as they get older. A win-win!
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The idea of the obstacle course is to have a final goal to reach. You can make it challenging and adjust for whatever ages you are working with. Create a course together with obstacles to overcome. Make sure it involves basic movements where everyone needs to run, jump, crawl, roll; in short, it’s a great work out! If you don't have a large yard, you can organize your route inside by setting up chairs in the living room to crawl under, a laundry basket to throw a ball in, etc. Or use the trees in a park and rocks as obstacles. Go head to head to see who can finish the fastest. Maybe even make it a best of 5!
Kids love a good challenge and competition often motivates them… especially when the competition is their parent! Organize competitions to determine who can last the longest in the chair position, or who will do the most sit-ups or push-ups. Participate with them to stimulate them. If they are not enthusiastic about the idea, offer to reward the winner with a prize or a treat that they love. Try involving as many different sports as you can. It will help round out their ability to move and increase their confidence when the sport comes up one day at school. For ideas and inspiration, check out the hashtag #coronawithkids on Instagram, where parents post their sports (and other) tips for staying busy with kids!
Are you looking for a slightly quieter sporting activity? Opt for children's yoga. Stretching, playful positions such as the "upside-down dog", or the so-called "mountain" position; get them active without getting them all riled up! Flexibility is important for all of us and this is a good way to teach it while making it fun.
Sometimes we overthink how to get our kids active when, in reality, they would love to try out a workout just like the ones they see mommy or daddy doing! Push away tables, chairs, and other furniture and make room; the goal is to move as much as possible. Make them jump, run on the spot, do burpees, air squats or pushups! Kids love to emulate the adults in their lives and they may just think that a 10-minute workout with “big kid/adult” movements is incredibly fun! Best of all, you will be building habits in them without them even realizing it. Habits that will keep them healthy all of their lives.