I am no statistics machine, but I would venture that 100% of adults have commented about kids being all wound up at least once. Perhaps they even used the old “bundles of energy” cliché. Yes, kids have inherently high amounts energy inside of them and often cannot sit still.
As a kid, I used to be able to ride my bike to the local park. I used to be able to run through the woods to go to a neighbor’s house to meet other friends and play. In today’s society, parents won’t let kids out of their sight, and that sight tends to be limited to the house, the “parent trap”. Parents are sometimes too busy themselves to transport their kids around, if they are even lucky enough to be home from work when the kids get off the school bus. Trying to manage kids, a home, dinner, homework, bath, reading, bedtime, and paying all the bills with a fulltime job is no small task. In order to keep up with every daily task, many times parents transform these bundles of energy into a “keep yourself occupied” kid.
So, you ask me: “How do you get kids excited about fitness”? That’s easy! Break the mold, change your everyday routine. It’s up to you, the parent! You will certainly have to sacrifice a little with household duties and compromise on other parts of life. Laundry may take one more day. A few dishes may not be put away. Just do it! Get out of the house and do…anything.
- Everyday Adventures: Exercise can be as easy as walking somewhere. Make it a destination so that you have a goal to reach. Kids might not want to just go around the block, but they might like to walk by their favorite store and look in the window. They might like to take their dog for a walk-that dog might even pull them the whole way there, giving them extra exercise! Even the dog will be happy with the new lifestyle change. Walk along the stream, or climb a tree. Take a mountain trail, climb some rocks, get your hands and feet a little dirty. Use those muscles. The best part is that the kids don’t even know it until they say, “my legs are tired” as they are walking back to the car.
- Play Detective: Make a scavenger hunt. Design it with competition so kids run around finding clues. In addition, you can add climbing over, crawling under, or carrying objects along the way to get to the next clue. They will be exercising and physically challenged too!
- Jump Around: If you have the luxury of access to a trampoline or even the newer concept of an indoor trampoline park with many trampolines, kids go crazy and come out sweating from the invisible exercise.
- Seasonal Favorites: For more seasonal exercises, there are always the obvious swimming and sleigh-riding activities that are filled with hidden exercises. Walking up and down a hill fifteen times in deep snow or a day at the pool or the beach will surely put them to bed early.
- Try something new: Expand your horizons, both yours and the kids’. Stop at some batting cages and hit balls. Try hitting golf balls. Bowling. Even a walk through an art gallery will beat sitting behind a computer. Photography could get the explorer in both of you traveling to new places in search of new scenery. Indoor archery!
Keep your eyes open everywhere you go, every town you drive in or by. In today’s changing world, there are new things popping up everywhere. What was old is new again. New businesses that pop up in small towns offer new opportunities for adventure and breaking the mold. Modern internet opportunities make it easy to search for new activities. Most search engines now offer town specific or zip code searches. Things you had never thought of are all at your fingertips, waiting to help you climb out of the trap. What’s more is those kids might even be the inspiration to help you find a healthy lifestyle too. All activity will help get that pulse going and help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Don’t you want to watch your children grow up healthy and strong?
Kevin Christofora, a father and little league coach, is the author of The Hometown All-Stars children’s book series and a devotee of baseball, America’s favorite pastime. Through his book series, he aims to teach young people about baseball and the habits of a healthy lifestyle in the form of a fun and educational bedtime story. More information can be found at www.thehometownallstars.com.