“Back in our day,” we used to have free reign outdoors, for the most part. When summers and weekends came, many of us got the boot out of the house and a rule to be home before dark. We’d fill our days playing outside with friends and riding our bikes. But “these days,” there’s a list of worries a mile long that just didn’t seem to exist back when we were kids. Pair that list with an increase in work hours and demands and many parents find themselves in a predicament of how to pull kids away from the TV or electronics – but also give the supervision they need to keep them safe. We can’t solve the problem in full, but here are a few ways to keep kids active during at-home hours:
#1 – Earn screen time. Let’s be honest, screen time isn’t just for the kids. But as with all things, it needs moderation. Teach your kids a lesson in working to achieve, while also keeping them active, by trading chores and activity time for screen time. You can either make the rules up as you go or (particularly for older kids who understand time) list a pre-determined trade value. For example, sweeping the downstairs might earn 15 minutes, cleaning a bathroom might earn another 15 minutes… you get the idea. Double bonus: Your house will have never been cleaner.
#2 – Create circuits. Kids love a challenge – particularly when it’s turned into a game. Take a few minutes and turn your back yard into your own America Ninja Warrior training course. It’ll take a bit of creativity, but you might be surprised with what you can come up with. You don’t necessarily even need tons of materials – rolling down a hill, crab walks, cartwheels or ending the course with jumping to stick a Post-it note above a chalk-drawn line are all freebies that come without a big mess! Time the course and let them try to best their own records or invite a friend or two over to amp up the entertainment.
#3 – Join the fun. Activity isn’t just for kids. Take some you time and set a good example. YouTube is full of free workouts if you don’t maintain your own library of videos. Ask them to join you for morning yoga or Zumba and you both benefit while bonding. You might be surprised what even the youngest members of your household can achieve.