It’s time for the kiddos to head back to school and days when they want to come home and do more than play video games and watch TV will be few and far between. With household chores, work, getting everyone fed, and making sure homework is done, it’s easy for parents to put fitness on the backburner – especially if children aren’t visually unhealthy. Don’t. There are steps you can take as parents to make fitness fun, easy, and engrained in your children’s lives. Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping the family unit active together.
1. Park the car far away from the entrance of the building. If you spend twenty minutes circling the parking lot for a spot up close, your children will eventually do the same thing. Think of all the easy exercising you could have done over the years just by walking from the back of a parking lot.
2. Always take the stairs – like any rule, there are exceptions to this one. Perhaps taking the stairs all the way to the top of the Tower of the Americas isn’t the best idea, especially with little ones. Skip the elevator if your hotel room is on the third floor, though. Your kids will learn that taking the stairs is faster and it will become second nature to them.
3. Wash your car together every couple of weeks. Skip the drive through wash. Those things hardly work anyway. You’d be surprised just how much good washing your car will do. Squatting to get to the tires, stretching to get to the top – you may even be sore the next morning!
4. Skip the gym and go for a family bike ride! Go somewhere safe, away from traffic so that your kiddos are free to ride without you having to worry too much. School parking lots after hours are great for this. Don’t forget helmets (you too, mom and dad)!
5. Never underestimate the power of dance. Have daily five minute dance parties in the living room. You’ll get everyone’s heart pumping and probably relieve some of your own stress with happy music and endorphins!
6. Progress reports reflect fantastic grades? Great! Reward your kids with an afternoon at the park, not a new video game.
7. Find a sport that your kids will be good at. One of them may be the next Michael Jordan while the other may have zero hand-eye coordination. Let little Michael play basketball, but don’t assume that the other is just not coordinated or athletic enough. There are tons of sports out there that tailor to different skill sets. Further, there are many activities that aren’t generally considered “sports” but demand physical activity – dance, marching band, etc.
8. Plan to go for a short walk as a family after dinner three times a week. This doesn’t have to be just for exercise. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about each other and find out what’s going on in their lives.
9. As parents, be good role models. Your kids will naturally do what you do. If you make exercise and healthy eating a part of your daily routine they’re much more likely to do the same for their own kids when they’re parents.
10. Make it fun! If fitness feels like a chore, kiddos will view it as such. Fitness should be something that is enjoyable and makes them feel good.
BONUS: Always pray. Pray that you will take the right steps in ensuring that your children lead healthy lives. God will not lead you astray.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
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