Uniquely Motivating Ways to Keep Kids Active
The kids are back in school and even though the calendar says it’s still technically summer, when summer vacation ends, so does the relaxing vibe of summer.
We spend our summer vacation like many families out there. We head to the pool and go swimming. We head to tennis lessons. We take day trips to museums and walk for hours. And then we probably head back to the pool to go swimming again.
Even though we usually take family vacations in the Spring or the Fall, we actually managed to squeeze in a mini-vacation to New York at the beginning of August.
During our trip to the Big Apple, we spent hours sweating our way through Central Park and walking all around midtown Manhattan checking out the sights. After a few days in the city, we headed out to the beaches of Long Island visiting friends and playing in the water.
Even though we indulged in cupcakes every day, we came back lighter (both mentally and physically) than when we left.
That’s what summer does to you. It gets you up and moving and living without exerting much effort.
We went for a hike together and he didn’t even realize he was exercising!
But as one season ends, another begins. We head into Fall where we’re surrounded by hot chocolate and Halloween candy and everything apple and pumpkin. And our daily schedule changes too. The carefree summer days are replaced with early mornings, rushed driving to school, homework, and bed. And in the in-between time, my son wants to “relax” from his day at school with TV and video games. Like pretty much every kid out there.
The challenge for me is to keep him active and healthy without making him feel stressed or overscheduled. Because when he’s happy, we’re all happy (and vice versa).
Here are some ways we’re working on that.
While most tween kids are busy with soccer or baseball, my son has never really taken to team sports. After a stint in martial arts, we found something he likes… tennis! It’s a sport that he can play at his own pace, with friends, or even by himself.
Bonus: At his age, he simply takes lessons so there’s nothing competitive about it.
If you happen to have a family membership to a nearby gym, ask about their children’s policy. In our gym, kids are welcome to participate in most gym activities as long as they are supervised by their parents. My son’s interest in tennis inspired us to try the racquetball courts at the gym. We all loved working up a sweat together.
Bonus: It’s a great way to work out frustrations from the day.
One of my favorite weekend activities is hiking at a nearby park. If I force my son to go, he treats it like a chore. But if I pack a picnic lunch and let him help me map out our trail for the day, he ends up actually enjoying his time outside.
Bonus: The great outdoors is like a magic elixir for making him open up and talk!
You probably want to get your kid to unplug but if you join in the fun, it will help bring you closer together. When we traveled to NYC, our cab driver told us about a Pokemon GO hotspot just a few blocks from our hotel. My son was only too eager to start walking and collecting Pokemon!
Bonus: Because I play too, I’m the “cool mom” in the neighborhood.
If you have kids that don’t like sports or just have a hard time getting motivated to be active, rethink the ways you and your family spend time together. The healthy lifestyle might be a little easier than you imagined.
Fadra Nally has always followed her passions and created careers around them: science, education, travel, technology, marketing. But when Fadra quit her corporate life, she found her true passion: telling stories, inspiring others, and making people laugh. She currently works as a social media professional and writes on her personal blog, All Things Fadra. When she’s not working, she’s mothering a tween son and a menagerie of pets in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) or any Responsibility.org member.*