Inspiring Kids to be Physically Active

It’s 6:00pm, after a long day of work, and I have successfully picked up my kids from their grandparents, gotten my 7 year-old son changed and ready for Y soccer (after searching high and low for his cleats and shin guards, which we never can seem to find), convinced my daughter that, yes, she does have to go with us to his soccer practice, packed up her bike in the back of the car, along with plenty of snacks, and made it to the field, gotten the bike out of the car, lugged everything out to the track at their school where practice is, and flopped down in my chair. I know that is a run on sentence—but most days I feel like I am living a run-on life, as I am sure many other moms do, too. That sentence is reflective of exactly how it feels and when I can finally put the period at the end, I just want to stop. Done. Rest. Pause.

Then my daughter looks at me. “Mommy, will you play with me on playground? Mommy, will you walk with me while I ride my bike around the track?”

This is when my internal struggle begins. I’m not ready for the next sentence yet. Didn’t you notice there was not an exclamation at the end of the last sentence, peanut? Can’t you play by yourself? Mommy is just going to sit here and rest… nope. No, I am not. I need to set the example. I need to join in. I need to make sure that by the time she is a mommy she knows how important it is to take care of herself and know that after that walk, she is going to feel better.

“Ok, peanut. Let’s go play.”

I drag myself up and walk the track with her and climb through the playground and help her on the monkey bars and over the tower and through the tube. And sure enough. When the hour of practice is up, I feel better. I was present. I was a good role model for her, and for my son, and reminded myself that moving matters for me—and them.

Here are some other ways that you can inspire the kiddos (and yourself) to be active - together:

After dinner active time (since it’s daylights saving), skip TV for a walk or bike ride

Play catch

Seriously. Good old fashion catch. Football, baseball, lacrosse—whatever your kiddos like best and you don’t have to be awesome at it! They don’t care!

Obstacle course at the park

Make up a Ninja Warrior course at the park and actually do it with your kids. Again—you don’t have to be great at it, but they will be more likely to do it if you do, too.

Balloon games

The night I busted out the balloons with the kids I was shocked and forgot just how much fun you can have playing volleyball and numerous other games with just a balloon.

Dance party

Yep. If you drive by our house, you might see our shadows dancing to our favorite tunes and the kids LOVE it the most when I join in. Mix it up with freeze dance, kid's choice on the music, and varying the tempo of the music.

10 x 10 x 10 exercises

Together, complete these exercises every day. They are safe for the kids because you do them with our own body weight and good for you too: 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups or jelly-bellies, and 10 squats. Check out my video for how to do each one!

By: Kelly Prather, Executive Director of Health Strategies & Member Experience