Now that the weather is cooling off and winter is right around the corner, it's a great time to focus on ways to add more physical activity to your child's daily routine. Especially considering many children can easily become coach potatoes once the cooler months take hold, sending them into a hibernation of sorts.
The easiest way to ensure that your child is getting enough exercise every day is to incorporate it into their normal routine. These 8 suggestions that I offer are simple to do, and in most cases, your child won't even realize they are exercising -- they'll just think they're having fun! Read on to get started.
#1: Rise. Shine. Exercise
Sometimes the after school schedule can be a little hectic! When you consider all of the time spent on extracurricular activities, homework and family dinners – it leaves little time to squeeze exercise in. Instead, why not incorporate a little physical activity first thing in the morning? Getting your child up a few minutes earlier each day for a before breakfast bike ride, yoga session or a walk with mom or dad around the block is a great way to start the day! Not only will your child get a little exercise in the morning, it’s a great way to add in a little extra alone time with your kids.
Photo © wooleywonderworks
#2: It’s Not Exercise – It’s Fun Time
If your child doesn’t necessarily get excited by the word “exercise”, turn up the fun volume by calling it “fun time”. This simple act of focusing on the fun of the activity instead of the work involved can turn a frown upside down. If your child loves being outside, maybe hiking, biking, or walking should be your activity of choice. If you child loves being read to, consider a story time yoga class. If you child is an adventurer, sign up for a zip-lining, kayaking or canoeing classes.
#3: Buddy Up
Just as it is for adults, exercising with a friend is more fun for children too. Find an exercise activity that both children will enjoy, then sign them up for classes together. Don’t have time to add another after school class to your routine? Arrange to split duty with the other parent and take the children to a local park everyday after school for a little exercise time! You can even schedule “exercise” playdates on the weekends and incorporate bike rides, ice skating classes or gymnastics!
#4: Take the Path of Most Resistance
Instead of driving your kids to school, encourage them to walk or bike to school. If you must drive, park a little further away from the school and walk the reminder of the way together. This tip is also perfect for those times that you are running errands or stopping at the grocery store. Park at the furthest point in the parking lot and walk the distance. Also, consider taking the stairs whenever possible and skipping the elevator, it saves the environment too!
#5: Turn It Into a Bonding Activity
Turn exercise time into a bonding activity with your child. Find a physical activity that you both enjoy and enroll in classes or schedule a time each day to do that activity together. My son and I have taken several different yoga classes together and we try to schedule times each week to hike, walk on the beach, and paddleboard together. It’s a very special time of the day for both of us, not only do we get to exercise, it strengthens our bond too.
#6: Pop-Up Exercise
Do you feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day for your child to get exercise? Stop and really think about it – there are opportunities to exercise all around us. You don’t have to have 20, 30 or 60 minutes a day to devote to exercise, you can break it down into smaller pieces. If you have 10 minutes before a doctor’s appointment, stay outside and play a few rounds of Simon Says or Ring Around the Roses. If you are grabbing dinner on the way home? Instead of hitting fast food and eating in the car, pick up a healthy sandwich and take a walk while you eat it together.
#7: Dance Party!
We love music and usually have the sound system playing throughout the evening at our home. After dinner, we will turn the music up and have a dance party while we clean up! It’s a great way to get everyone moving and it is sure to bring out the smiles. We also use music to amp up the time right before bed when we are tidying up the house and getting ready for the next day. Fun music will get your children moving and dancing, which is a super fun way to get your exercise in.
#8: TV Time Becomes Exercise Time
Chances are that your children have some sort of screen time each day. Whether they watch it on their own, or you sit down as a family to catch your favorite show. TV time can become exercise time when you choose to get moving during the commercials. Choose exercises that are kid friendly and that can be accomplished during the commercials, for example; jumping jacks, running in place or jump-rope. However, if you can skip TV time all together – that would be great too!
How do you add more exercise to your child’s daily routine?
Photo © mikebaird