If there’s one thing my kid does really well, it’s move. From the time he gets up until the time I kiss him goodnight (and even after the lights are out), F is constantly in motion. Admittedly, sometimes it drives me more than a little crazy – like when he kicks the back of my seat when we’re driving or won’t sit still at the doctor’s office – but physical activity is critical to his development.
I’m no Olympic athlete and I’m certainly not a fitness buff, but teaching F that movement is key to our health and happiness is important to me. We both spend a lot of time indoors and sitting down at desks, so fostering a love of movement isn’t always easy.
Lead By Example
Five or six days a week, I lace up and break a sweat – and I always make sure that F is looped in. Whether I tell him about my lunchtime run or I invite him to join me for a Zumba workout, I show F how being active is important to a healthy life rather than telling him.
I remind him that my workout is my time and he has come to learn, appreciate and support my workouts every day.
Do It Together
As much as I’d love to take F on a 10km run, the reality is pretty simple: he’s not gonna do it – just like I’m not going to crawl around in a pile of dirt with toy tractors. Finding activities that we can both enjoy – like swimming, walking, hula hooping or kicking a ball around a field – makes staying fit a lot more fun. For both of us.
Dress Them Right
Know what sucks? Uncomfortable clothes. Know what sucks even more? Uncomfortable clothes that bunch and pull and do weird stuff while you’re trying to run. Who has time for that? NO ONE.
We love Peekaboo Beans because they are made for movement. There are no buckles or snaps to dig into F’s sides when he’s crawling around, reinforced knees don’t wear out and the wide elastic/string waistband is comfortable and never pinches. Thumbholes in sweaters look cool and provide a little extra warmth when we’re out walking in the evening, too!
Plus all of his PB threads are easy to get in and out of – perfect for fostering independence, too!
Follow Their Lead
Sometimes, I think we should do one thing but F has something else in mind. Instead of going head-to-head with him, I try back down and do what he wants to do. Even though stopping at the playground when we’re on our walk home means we’ll have to wait a little longer for dinner, if F wants to do a few laps of the jungle gym, I’m all for it.
Even if it means a late dinner.
I feel like I’m constantly bombarded with Best Exercises and Best Activities recommendations, but the truth is that movement and being active is a natural and simple part of life. Raising active kids and fostering a love of movement isn’t rocket science – and it’s an amazing way to connect with your child.