As a homeschooling mom of three busy boys, I know how difficult it can be to get anything done, let alone make time for exercise. But may I encourage you not to make this your excuse? Exercising with kids can be tricky for sure unless you are a rise-before-the-kids-do kind of person. I try to be up in the morning before my kids, but honestly my consistency with early rising is dismal. So even if you can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed before everyone’s awake (welcome to the club), there are lots of things in life we simply have to accomplish in a day, and one way or another we manage to get them done (when was the last time you went without dinner?). So why not make exercise one of those things that just has to be done? Start your day with a boost of energy, a sense of accomplishment, and the upper hand on improving your overall health.
I’ve found the best way to get time for exercising without myself or my kids feeling frustrated is usually to involve my children in a fun way. Here are some ideas that have worked for me through different stages of parenthood:
- Get your kids some workout clothes and exercise together. Please be mindful of the differences in their endurance and strength – this isn’t really intended to get your 3-year-old in shape or make him/her develop unhealthy body images, but to encourage them to lead a healthy active lifestyle.
- Hire your kids as your coach/cheerleader. Let them “instruct” you in some moves each day, get them a whistle, timers, pom-poms, etc., and enlist them to keep you accountable (e.g., “Every day at 7 am you get your coaching equipment and let me know it’s time to exercise.”).
- Find a new activity/game or two that your kids will enjoy and only allow them to play with it when you are exercising.
- Let your kids help you with exercises. Explain to them how to make sure your form is correct (and have them correct you), let them help you with two-person moves (e.g., throw-downs), and show them how to help you stretch deeper.
- Start and end exercise time with something special, something that gives your kids your undivided and uninterrupted attention for 5 minutes, so they’re not left feeling exercise is stealing you away from them.
What are your favorite ways to involve your kids in your exercise routines?