It is so important for us moms to be physically active and to cultivate that in our kids. Important, but not easy! How do you make time for movement or exercise? How do you encourage it for your kids?
I absolutely believe that physical activity is crucial for me and for my children. I know that the habits my kids form right now can impact them for a lifetime. In my experience, kids are naturally busy, active little beings, and they develop a sedentary lifestyle from habits like watching TV and computer use, school demands (“Stay in your seat and work quietly!”), and from us. Leading by example is not the easiest thing to do, but it is the most powerful tool at our disposal.
Our non-negotiable exercise is the walk to and from school, even on cold, rainy days. I remind myself there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing, so we dress warmly, put on our rain boots, and make the walk to school. Twenty-five minutes there and back, twice a day.
I think it’s important to role model that walk to and from school. My 3 year old has already asked why we don’t drive to school like the rest of her classmates. I remind her that school isn’t that far away, and that walking is fun as well as good for you. We’ve been following the exploits of a family of squirrels living in some bushes on the way to school, and I remind Tee of the things like that we’d miss if we didn’t make the walk to school. I know she won’t always attend a school within walking distance, so I’m taking advantage of it while we can.
We’re fortunate enough to live on the West Coast where it may rain 6 months out of the year, but at least the temperature rarely drops below freezing. So even in the winter we can go play outside on our occasional sunny days. Tee loves riding her bike around with her friends in the neighbourhood, and Kay does her best to keep up with the older kids.
We’ve also set up a play area in our basement with an amazing set of monkey bars that Tee likes to climb on and hang all over. “Uncle Aman” (better know as Adam) gave Tee an indoor hockey set for her birthday last year, and she loves to play with that in the basement too, though her hockey game may not quite be NHL regulation. Another nice thing about playing down there is the girls can be as loud as they want to be!
Right now Kay’s in a climbing phase of her own. I’m constantly catching her on top of the toy box, pulling herself up on the dining room chairs, and even on top of the kitchen table a few times. But her favourite form of movement is dance. All she needs is some music, any music, and away she goes. I love dancing with my girls, especially on those days when it’s too wet and cold to play outside. We have some Disney playlists and a personalized CD that they love singing and bouncing along to. I only wish I could recapture that sense of joy and complete abandon that little kids possess when they dance.
What about your kids? What is their favourite indoor exercise when they can’t go outside?