Being parents ourselves, and where does the time go? we know how difficult it is to fit in active time. We also know that regular exercise and fresh air are essential to improving our children’s health and well-being. So, here are some ideas to get yourself and the kids off the sofa and out of the house. We promise we are trying them ourselves!
Set a good example
Show your kids how a little exercise can go a long way. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift, leaving the car behind for short trips to nearby shops (weather permitting!). Talk in positive terms about exercise and its benefits. Limit t.v. and computer game time.
Set aside specific active time at the weekends
Without being too rigid, it is a good idea to set aside specific time at the weekends for you to do something active, whether or not the weather is conducive. If you don’t, the weekend can slip by before you know it. Most people with younger children are up early anyway, so head off early in the morning to the park or beach to get a good hour of exercise in (then no need to feel guilty for staying in the rest of the day!) Often the weather is better first thing as well.
Give your activity a focus
Try out new things like a scavenger hunt in the woods, at the park, or on the beach – it doesn’t take long to compile a list of things for the kids to find. Or take along magnifying glasses and a nature sheet for them to fill in with the things they find (have a page drawn up with boxes to write down “finds” in).
Go somewhere new
It is easy to get into a rut with the choice of locations you head off to with your kids. Try going somewhere new every week.
Do something for free
Head out to your garden, green or nearby park with a football or to play tag. Kids love hopscotch, skipping and hide-and-seek and they’ll love it even more if you join in. Take a walk on the beach, walking on sand burns more calories and you can combine it with hunting for shells or building sand castles.
Find activities that you can do together as a family
What about trying some new games you can play together outside or head off together to walk the dog, go cycling, swimming, try canoeing, horse riding, take nature walks.
Don't let the weather be an excuse
Ok, so yuk weather outside makes it less motivating to exercise, here are some suggestions for home-based indoor exercise. And, of course, failing that, you always have the soft play centres and swimming pools!