How to get active with the kids
When you have kids, you’re frequently at the mercy of whatever it is they want to do. Spending all weekend indoors playing Fortnite? You got it. But everyone needs to step away from the Xbox sometimes, and you can become a fantastic role model in your household in 2020 if you get active with the kids. Inspire your kids to value their health and fitness, and it’s never too early (or too late!) to do it.
In the second part of our dad’s guide to fitness from Dan Fallon, we look at how you can get active with the kids. Read the first part here.
If your kids go to any clubs or do any sports during the weekend, get involved and show them that you’re keen to learn more about what they are up to. Kids love it when you are interested in what they are doing and able to share their experience.
Make it competitive
It’s human nature to rise to a challenge and it’s motivating to have something to strive towards.
Set an achievable fitness challenge to ensure they buy into the process. Give them feedback on their performance and how to improve. As time goes by, make the challenges harder so that they learn how to overcome obstacles and achieve their goal.
Do the TV circuit
Rather than just watching your favourite movies on repeat with no movement at all other pressing the remote control, try this: every time a certain character comes onto the screen, do a bear crawl across the front room with 10 squats to finish. This transforms a sedentary activity into a strength activity and makes it fun. Kind of like a drinking game, but more appropriate for kids!
Make fitness a part of everyday life
Whatever you are doing around the house – cleaning, tidying, gardening – involve the kids. Give them incentives and make it into a game. Relate it to the sports and activities they enjoy doing, for example lunging into the cupboards to put the saucepans away would be like lunging to catch a ball.
Get outside in open space
If you have little ones, take them to a park with wide-open space and no danger of roads. They will often just run and run. So make sure you are fast enough to keep up!
Do something new
Expose your children to as many different ways as possible to keep fit. This keeps them engaged with their activity levels. Try trampoline parks – these are a great way to bond with your children through the power of exercise.
These days you can find out a lot about your fitness through technology – mobile phones can track your steps, your walking/running distance, how many flights you’ve climbed etc. Why not have a competition with teenage children to see who can reach the most steps in a week? If they win, their reward can be a trip to the cinema, or whatever they’re into.
If you’re a wearable tech addict, you can even get a kids version of the Fitbit called the Fitbit Ace, which tracks their steps, gives them challenges and allows parental controls. There’s also a junior version of the Garmin Vivofit which comes in loads of cool colours (Spiderman red is a personal fave), features interactive games and can even track their chores.
Choose holiday breaks that have lots of walking
It might seem obvious but choosing a holiday break that doesn’t require you to drive anywhere can make such a difference. Plus, when you’re walking you have more time to soak up the scenery together as a family. And while you’re there, take a ball to throw around, or play a game which gets the heart rate up.
Household Ninja Warrior
Kids love this show, there are lots of exciting challenges and, let’s face it, it looks fun. You can play something similar at home. Set a challenge to get from one end of the house downstairs to the other end upstairs without touching the floor. All you have are two cushions to stand on. It’s surprisingly good for your heart and lungs!
Cooking up fitness
Time is the enemy of ALL parents. But you can easily fit in a kitchen circuit with the children while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.
Try this circuit of planks:
Front plank – 15 sec
Rest – 15 sec
Side plank (left) – 15 sec
Rest – 15 sec
Side plank (right) – 15 sec
Rest – 15 sec
Tall plank – 15 sec
Rest – 15 sec
Dan Fallon is author of Start with ONE THING: The Dad’s no BS approach to fat loss and fitness (Rethink Press, £12.99) and founder of the Super You Project, the Dad’s online fitness community www.facebook.com/superyouproject.