Keep Kids Active
A guest post by Dolly Santos
It can be difficult – or nearly impossible – to balance your work and home life as a single parent. You work more hours than not. Once you get home, the house needs to be cleaned, the kids need to be fed, the plants need to be watered, and you have to prepare yourself for the next day.
How, in all of this, are you going to find time to ensure that your children are active this season? These six tips will help you get started.
- Design games or events for yourself and your child.
More than anything in the world, your child wants to spend time with you. When parents “lower themselves” to the level of their children by agreeing to play games with them, it validates the feelings and emotions of their offspring. With this spirit in mind, design weekend games for yourself and your child.
These games or events don’t have to take an entire day. You can design a short scavenger hunt, engage in a bike race, or spend a few hours at the beach. Just put aside an hour or two over the weekend for family fun. This will encourage your child to maintain healthy habits in the future. You can read examples of active games at Parenting.com.
- Make walking and talking a habit.
If you don’t have time to create games or events, consider making walking and talking a nightly habit. Put on your sneakers, clean the kitchen after dinner, and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Talk about your day. Be honest with your child. They want to know about your life, just like you want to know about theirs. This is a great way to make “less” time feel like more – in addition to encouraging active habits.
- Visit local fairs or farmers markets.
The weekend is coming up, and you’re not sure how to entertain your child. Mull over the possibility of walking to a local fair or farmers market. You can purchase groceries, look at booths, and talk about your week.
Nutrition.gov offers several reasons why shopping at a farmers market is a smart choice for your family. This is a solid way to stay active, promote strong connections, eat healthy (which can help with all facets of health and combat numerous mental issues), and ensure your time is well spent. You’ll be killing four birds with one stone.
- Get involved in gardening.
If keeping the exterior of your home beautiful is important to you, teach your child about gardening. When you aren’t home, he or she will be able to tend to your plants. When you are home, the two of you can take an hour to garden together. You can bond over fresh vegetables and flowers, while getting the exercise you need to stay healthy.
Remember, these exercises aren’t only for your child. They’re also for you. You can read more about the unexpected health benefits of gardening through Earth Easy.
- Brainstorm fun and creative ideas together.
Having trouble coming up with a fun activity for you and your child to do together? Have a brainstorm session with a whiteboard and all. Give your child a chance to come up with ideas about what he or she would like to do with you on the weekends (or in the evenings). You’ll be surprised at what your child can come up with. You’ll also find the pressure to come up with a plan is no longer a burden. Familiarize yourself with the general rules of brainstorming at Inc.com.
- Involve extended family or friends.
If you absolutely don’t have time to keep your child active this season, consider involving friends or extended family members. You could pitch in with another family to hire a babysitter that will promote exercise and healthy eating. This way, your child can spend time with a friend and get the push he or she needs to get started. There are a variety of methods your loved ones can use to help in a situation like this. Don’t be afraid to ask.
These six methods will help keep your family active as a single parent this season. If you’re reading this, you’re already one step ahead. Talk to your child about your plans, start brainstorming, and get moving today.
Author: Dolly Santos