Children need exercise and movement. Being cooped up in the house can make them less active by default. As parents, we must insist that they continue to move and get plenty of exercise. We are often at a loss for how to do this when we are supposed to be socially distant during this time. Here are a few ways to incorporate exercise into their day.
Get up and dance. Turn on Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube and dance. Let your child have a virtual dance party with a friend. Set up Facebook messenger calls or Facetime between your child and another friend and play music and dance. See how many people you can get involved. Can you put together a sixth-grade dance? Dancing is excellent cardio, and you can do it in your jammies. Exercise does not have to be this structured event. Let your kids enjoy it.
Running around outside, riding bikes, and basketball in the driveway can be a spectacular exercise for your child. Fresh air is great for the body. Let your child play outside. Go out and join him or her when possible. Riding bikes can be done while social distancing, so invite the neighborhood children to race down the local park.
Go on a walk in your neighborhood and let your children find things. Explore the flowers, plants, trees, and terrain. You may choose to stay on the roads, but if there is a trail, explore it a little too! Hiking can be great for muscle development even though it is done more slowly. If you have a local park where you can social distance, walk their trails, and explore their environment.
When it is age-appropriate, let your children work in the yard. Mowing may be reserved for older children, but young ones can help pull weeds, move sticks, and rake. Teach your children about the flowers in the garden, vegetables, or herbs you are growing, and let them plant new things. Children can take responsibility for the beautification of your yard. Many children also become more willing to try vegetables that they grow themselves. Let them grow green beans then help them select a recipe to try using them.
TV or Online Breaks
During commercials, have your child do jumping jacks, run in place, or hop on one foot. During a recent musical, my family danced to all the musical numbers. We also laughed at how funny it was to try to dance to the slow ones. Even the four-year-old was leading the dancing. While working online, set a timer for scheduled breaks. If your child is doing digital schooling, require that they move around for ten minutes for every 50 that they are online.
See who can come up with the most creative exercise or activity. Let the “winner” choose dinner one night. Get the whole family involved in health. Your children do not have to lift weights and exercise to Jane Fonda’s 1970’s videos to get fit. They can simply behave like children. Let their creative juices flow. I can almost guarantee a great time.
There are many ways to get more activity in your day, even while at home. Think about the things that you and your family love. Are you a family of artists? Do some splatter painting or try to create the most beautiful garden landscape. Exercise should be fun and sustainable.