I am linking up with This Mama Runs For Cupcakes, Mom Who Tris and Mom Swim Bike Run for another installment of Wonder Mom Wednesday. This week’s topic is ways to involve kids in exercise. Be sure to check out their blogs today! As I have mentioned, I have two boys aged 5 and 7. They are active little rascals! Both are typical boys- they love to run around, drive mom crazy, get dirty, get the house dirty, (Did I mention drive mom crazy?) and spend time playing outside. Most days I put them to bed at night and then just zone out on the couch watching TV. I am TIRED by the time they go to sleep. Since both boys are now in school all day, life has somewhat slowed down a little for me. Yep, now I just sit around watching soaps and eat bon bons. UM, NO. I would be eating chips and queso. I have yet to experience a day with nothing to do while the boys are in school. Since their mama loves to work out and has made the gym a part of her lifestyle, you can pretty much bet I have incorporated ways for my boys to get some exercise.
Children Learn By Example: This idea could not be simpler, seriously. Have you ever noticed how young kids mimic words and actions from people around them? The same thing goes for exercise! If kids see that you have made exercise a part of your lifestyle, they will do the same thing. I have various (discarded) work out items in my house. I bring them out from time to time but usually do most of my work outs at the gym. My boys often use my weights, boxing gloves, bands and bosu to pretend they are working out. They have even gone as far as to argue who gets to be Ross, my trainer. (I cringe and laugh at the same time!) My oldest son often asks me to look at his muscles as he flexes his little bicep. He also loves to run and is a fast little bugger! I cannot wait to get him into track in junior high. I hope he still loves running by that time. He could really excel in this area. We live near a local high school that is building a track. As soon as I realized what they were building, I began to tell my oldest that I would teach him how to run when it was finished. He, of course, informed me that he already knows how to run fast. I can’t wait to show him how to pace himself to run a considerable distance. He can’t wait to beat his mom at a race.
Organized Sports: Our town has not offered the greatest park district activities for my boys. We tried classes here and there over the past few years but they were only just okay. However, once we got into TBall and baseball, the fun began. Both of my boys love baseball. My youngest was so excited to finally be on a “real team” this spring during TBall. He was very proud each time he put on his uniform. I am constantly asking my boys if they want to try out new sports/activities but I never force them to do anything, Once we sign up for an activity, I will encourage them to participate fully. However, I will never sign up either of my boys for an activity they do not want to do. I am glad both boys have enjoyed TBall and baseball because it is an easy way to incorporate exercise into their routine. At the same time, take your kids to sporting events. Sure, they are not participating but it shows them that sports are important to you. My husband dreams of the day we take them to their first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. (Yes, they could go now but honestly I think they will get bored quickly and then we are stuck in the city with crabby boys. No thanks.) A couple months ago I took my boys to their first roller derby bout. They did lose interest towards the end of the first bout but for a while, they did enjoy themselves. Take them to events that interest you. Show them your excitement.
Go Outside!: My boys love to play outside. The like to ride bikes, play catch, hit balls off the tee, go to the park and play on their playhouse in the backyard. Our playhouse has a fire pole so they often play fire fighters in the yard. I have even seen them throw ropes onto trees to pretend they are rappelling down them. (Yes, I stop any activity that involves them hanging from ropes. Sigh, boys. I grow gray hairs daily because of them.) My youngest loves anything that involves construction trucks so he has two kid sized diggers in their sand box. I consider all of that pretend play a form of exercise! I am happy to see them up and moving. Since they can’t exactly work out just yet, they get most of their exercise by just playing. Now that they are a little older, they LOVE to help shovel the snow in the winter (It will be here before we know it. Boo hoo!) They will even take their shovels out to their playhouse in the winter and clean off the snow.
I think the most important way to get kids involved in exercise starts with YOU. Show them that exercise is important by incorporating it into your lifestyle. Be a good example to the kids in your life whether they are your own, an extended family member or a friend.
I will leave you with a picture of my youngest trying out the rower machine at one of his daddy’s fire houses. He asked me how to use it and actually picked up the rhythm quickly. I cannot say it enough: be a good example.