Today’s guest post comes from Erika over at MCM Mama.
Erika is a fellow Fitfluential ambassador and stand out mom (in my opinion!). She is a runner by choice, and has a goal of running 50 races in 50 states by 50! Super cool!! She also has some great tips for being an active mom, which I love!
I asked for posts while I am away visiting my family, and Erika volunteered to write about how to keep older kids active! (She has obviously met my toddler, who is impossible to keep inactive…) Keeping children involved in their fitness helps set them up for a healthy long life. Thank you Ericka for sharing your tips!
When my kids were little, it was always a challenge to get them to sit still. There were constantly balls flying through the air, couches being jumped on, and scooters have been ridden through my dining room more than once. And this was just on days when the weather didn’t permit outside play.
As they’ve aged, school has taken up a significant chunk of most days and the associated homework and projects fill a lot of what remains. My younger son plays a sport and still has a lot of free time in the evenings to burn off the wiggles, but my older son has become more of an artist and a scholar. Between cub scouts, cello, homework and his chosen downtime actvities (reading, Legos, and computer), his days often seem full of everything EXCEPT movement.
So, what’s a mom to do? Some days it’s all I can do to motivate myself and I’m supposed to motivate a kid who’d rather commune with his computer?
Here are my tips for getting an older child moving…
- Stay and play – My kids don’t do “extended day” at school, but many of their friends do. If the weather is nice, we stay at the school and my children are able to run around the playground or play pick up soccer games with friends they wouldn’t otherwise see in the afternoon.
- Walk/bike to school – We technically live outside the walking perimeter of our elementary school, but my kids are capable of walking to it. When my oldest was younger, we had a “walking school bus” with other kids from his grade. Now that my youngest has learned to ride a bike, we are much more likely to take that option. Nothing like a hilly 15 minute bike ride to start the day!
- Make it a game – If we aren’t able to stay at the school or walk/bike, I try to get them moving when we do get home. One of their favorite games is a takeoff on “I spy” that we call “I run”. I describe something I see and they run as fast as they can to it. We also play soccer in the front yard. It usually just involves a lot of running as I have great endurance, but absolutely no soccer skills.
- Make it a family affair – On the weekends or days off, we try to exercise as a family. We ride bikes around town or on the paved paths. Sometimes we go hiking at the local National Parks. When my husband and I are doing yard work, we get the kids outside with us. They may not exactly be helpful, but they definitely spend that time running around.
- Convince them to try new sports – We live in an area that has lots of opportunities for trying new things. Classes are offered through the schools, through the local Parks and Recreation, and through private organizations. My younger child had the opportunity to take Creative Martial Arts this fall and my older son wants to try rugby in the fall. I’m all about letting them try something new if it gives them a chance to move their bodies.
- Bribery – When all else fails, I fall back on the tried and true: I bribe them. If they go run around outside, I’ll let them have a few minutes extra on the computer. If they want to watch an extra show, they need to take turns walking on the treadmill while watching it.
How do you incorporate movement into your child’s life? I’m always looking for new ideas!
Erika, AKA MCM Mama, is a mom of two boys who has lived in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area for most of her adult life. She is also a runner, an RRCA certified running coach, and an ambassador for a local running store and race management company. When she’s not playing with her boys or running (by herself or with clients), she enjoys reading, blogging, volunteering at her boys’ schools, and spending time with friends. She and her parents are on a mission to run a race in every state, which works well with her husband’s goal to visit as many craft breweries and brewpubs as possible.
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