Our kids spend an awful lot of time strapped into car seats or in front of a device, especially during the current pandemic. Not only does this prevent them from practicing their emerging motor skills but it’s also just no fun.
The habits and preferences children develop early in life will shape their choices and behaviors for years to come, so it’s important to establish good physical activity habits now. How can you help your family be more physically active and get enough exercise to stay healthy, especially with gyms closed all over the globe? With our tips, of course.
- Make Exercise Accessible
- Commute to School and Work
- Get Involved
- Walk or Run for Charity
- Encourage Friendly Competition
- Make It Fun
- Minimize Screen Time
- Set a Good Example
1. Make Exercise Accessible
Instead of buying video games and other electronic equipment for the kids' birthdays, give them skipping ropes, tennis racquets, soccer balls, netballs and any other exercise equipment you can think of. Kids have tons of energy so it’s a good opportunity to channel it into fitness.
Leave your equipment in an accessible and visible position and encourage your family to use them as much as possible. Let these creative ideas help you turn each day into an opportunity to get fit and have fun together.
2. Commute to School and Work
Teenagers, children and dads alike can benefit from actively commuting to work and school. One US study found children who walk or cycle to school are not only more active but also have better cardiovascular fitness than those who are driven or catch public transport.
If you’re worried about your kids, you can enroll them in the local Walking School Bus program or create your own. It’s exactly what it sounds like - walking to school with different parents taking the reins each time. If you live too far from work to actively commute the whole way, do it part of the way instead. It’s a good way to show you’re dedicated to being healthier too.
3. Get Involved
Kids love it when their parents take an interest in them, especially when an activity is involved. “Quarantine 15” is no joke during this pandemic and dads, you might have a bit of a COVID-cushion too. Take your kids to the park, throw a frisbee, teach them to swim or fly a kite.
Socializing with your kids has been proven to boost their self-esteem, making it more likely they'll remain active in adulthood. As dads, we value that quality time we can spend with our kids and every activity is an adventure (even if it’s exercise).
4. Walk or Run for Charity
Model the value of exercise and give back to society by teaming up with your children for a fundraising race. Here are a few of our favorites you get involved with:
These are just a few, there’s plenty of opportunities to support the community and raise awareness - some even virtual! Have the kids place a bet on which daddy is going to win, but either way you’re going for (low fat) ice cream afterward.
5. Encourage Friendly Competition
Sometimes, a little family competition can be just the thing you need to get motivated. Ask your kids and partner to set a physical activity goal: maybe learning to dance, jumping rope 10 times without missing or seeing who can keep a hula hoop going the longest.
Keep track of progress on a poster board on the fridge. That way, when you go for a midnight snack, you’re reminded you’re on a fitness mission!
6. Make It Fun
Fun and creative exercise programs are more likely to get your family involved. So instead of making exercise a chore, make it a fun day out in the park, a family cycling day or a YouTube video to follow.
We created our own for families to join in. Can you keep up?
7. Minimize Screen Time
How often is your child in front of a screen? Don’t worry - we’re all guilty of it from time to time. From video games to computers and television, it all adds up. While not all screen activities are bad, they are pretty inactive for the most part.
You can set boundaries between kids and screens by helping children maintain healthy technology usage.
There are ways to minimize screen time like removing devices from your child’s bedroom, challenging children to be active during commercials (how many push-ups can you do during a commercial break?) and limiting TV on weekend days.
8. Set a Good Example
Do you sit on the couch at every chance? Maybe a quick dad nap in the afternoon? Because if you do, there’s very little chance your kids will be enthusiastic about exercise.
As kids imitate their parents’ actions, they'll adopt a healthy lifestyle and make exercise a priority if their parents do. Talk positively to your kids about exercise and encourage them to maintain their fitness efforts.