We can all agree: finding time to exercise can be really challenging, and when you have children, the jam-packed daily schedule makes it even harder. On top of that, you might be one of the millions of parents struggling to get your kids outdoors and away from their screens. Children nowadays spend a lot more time glued to electronics and parents all over the world are expressing worry – and rightfully so. But what if there was an easy way to kill two birds with one stone: get moving yourself, and get your children involved as well?!
Family exercise, although it might take some effort to introduce into your schedule, is important because it helps all the members stay healthy, it presents great quality time as it boosts morale and teamwork, and most importantly, it teaches your children to get in the habit of being active – something that they will be extremely grateful for in their adult life. The effort you need to put in is not that overwhelming; it’s more about developing some habits to lead an active lifestyle together. Here are some great tips to help you with that so everyone can get moving and enjoy it.
Start with the mornings
Yes, mornings are hectic in every family; the time spent from the minute your alarm buzzes until everyone is packed off to their daily duties is, in most families, a frenzy of making breakfast, eating quickly, getting ready, all the while hurrying your kids as they desperately try to shake the cobwebs of sleep.
Introducing a simple routine of morning stretches for the whole family makes all the difference. It takes just five minutes and it will help everybody feel more vigorous, energized with positivity and ready to take on the day. Gather everyone in a room in their pajamas and do stretches before breakfast – just five minutes, and you can put on some morning music to get in the groove.
Dance the day away
Speaking of getting in the groove, dancing is possibly the best form of exercise there is. It doesn’t feel like exercise at all yet you find yourself huffing and puffing after just a few minutes, and it just puts everyone in such a great mood.
Just put music on whenever you have a chance – it could be while you’re making dinner (shake them hips as you stir the pot!) or you could designate half an hour for a family dance-off to your favorite tunes. The kids will love it and you will have so much fun too. The sillier the better!
Weekends are best spent outside as a family, and if you add an adventurous note to your weekend expeditions, the kids will be absolutely hooked, no matter what age. Riding bicycles together on planned routes is a really fun and easy way to be active as a family, get some sunshine and fresh air, and explore the surroundings.
You can pack fresh food and set up a picnic once you get to a certain destination – because all great adventurers need to re-energize. Remember to always remind your kids about bicycle safety, plan your routes, and pedal away happily.
Walk and talk
Introducing family walks is the simplest solution to our sedentary lifestyles, and you’ll find it takes no effort at all. A walk after dinner makes for a great daily routine, as it will help everyone freshen up and digest their food so there’s no feeling of sluggishness after the meal. It’s also a great time to talk about your day and throw in some serious conversations when necessary – the walking sets the mood much better for everyone to open up and chat.
So the next time your family prepares to flop down in front of the TV after dinner, invite them outside, and do some convincing if necessary; it will definitely be worth it and eventually this can become your little “family thing”. Of course, it’s best to jam in some walking whenever possible, so park your car a few blocks away from your destination whenever you can and get used to that archaic mode of transportation – your own two feet.
We remember our childhood games with sentiment, feeling our children are missing out on the fun. But if you introduce these games to them in a fun way, you might be surprised at how well they will react. Jumping rope, hopscotch, obstacle courses, or a good old game of catch in the yard will get everyone active and playful – and you’ll be relishing the moments of feeling like a child once again. So the next time you’re annoyed at your kids incessantly playing video games, don’t tell them about how you used to play, but rather pull them outside and show them. You and your spouse can start the games off, and the kids will soon want to join in on the fun.
You can sign up for family classes or any other form of structured activity if you want, but that isn’t a must. Just lead by example and introduce more activity into your lifestyle, step by step, even in the most mundane moments. It will pay off greatly and your kids will get in the habit quickly; the sooner you start the better. Treats and incentives (aka bribes) are always welcome, so make little competitions with prizes for activities. It’s all about fun and quality time while getting the blood flowing.