Sports are one way for your kids to establish good exercise habits, but it’s not the only way for them to learn how to stay fit. You can enjoy exercising together as a family while giving your children a gift that stays with them for life. Here are some ways for you to do that:
Put it on the Calendar
Be intentional about planning physical activities together. Here’s what one family did:
Our family designated time each week for enjoying a fitness activity together. The first week we found some used archery equipment and took the kids to a field to practice target shooting. They loved it! We bought guidebooks about local hiking and biking spots and let the kids take turns picking a destination. A beach walk one week was followed by a bike ride down a famous trail the next. Pickup football and volleyball games have been included, along with hopscotch tournaments, Hula Hoop contests and wall ball championships.
Family fitness time brought the family together and taught their kids to love staying active.
Look in Your Community
Have you ever thought of going to the local high school track? Here’s how another family put it to use:
When the track in town isn't in use by the school, it's open to the public. My family often has the track to ourselves. In the wide-open spaces, we are free to run, race and ride as much and as far as our legs will take us. My oldest boys, ages 8 and 11, love playing football in the field and racing around the track on scooters. I enjoy going for a jog while my 4-year-old rides beside me on his bike.
Walk or Bicycle Instead of Riding in a Car
Yes, it takes more time, but look for opportunities to bike or walk to the grocery store, library or to your child's school or sporting events. Go for a 30-minute family walk after dinner instead of sitting down in front of the TV or playing video games.
Introduce Kids to the “Joy” of Yardwork
Enjoy seasonal yard work together. Your kids can help plant and tend a garden. Let them rake leaves into a pile and then jump in it. Make snow shoveling fun by building a snow fort or creating a family of snow people.
Contrary to what today’s fitness crazed world, exercise does not always equal competition. Your kids can learn the fun of fitness when you think outside the box of youth sports!
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.