Start Family Exercise time when your baby is young so that it becomes an accepted part of your family life and is not viewed as a chore. It helps to think of exercise as leading an active lifestyle with your children and you will probably fit in more than you think. If you keep exercise fun and varied, you’re more likely to keep at it and you will all enjoy it. Many gyms and community centres offer fitness programs designed for new mothers and babies where your child is actively involved in the programme. Babies and toddlers often spend a lot of time strapped into car seats or buggies so add some exercise to their day by putting colourful objects such as rattles just out of their reach so that they stretch or rollover to reach the it; once they are crawling, get on your hands and knees and crawl with them, even have a crawling race in your garden.
As your child gets older and more active, you can introduce a whole range of fun exercise options. Get wet with your child and go swimming together. Young children love playing in the water and there are so many ways to exercise whilst having fun. Diving, doing headstands, playing tag and playing jumping and floating games are all ways of getting exercise while having fun as a family.
Go the park or play outside in the garden together. Try playing games that incorporate movement, such as Simon Says, hopscotch, skipping and hide-and-seek and with younger children, use the swings and slides in the park, and play chase.
Children love Ball games, use hoops, make your own goal posts, have dribbling or ball bouncing races. If you are brave enough, you can play ball games inside – use a big plastic ball, everyone lies down on the floor with their feet up in the air. Then hold the ball with your feet, and try to work together to throw and catch it. Make sure that you have cleared a space and that there is nothing breakable in the way of course.
Another fun game with balls is to pair up with your child holding a bath towel between you and try to toss and catch a lightweight ball from towel to towel. (If you’re inside, use a beach ball to avoid breaking lamps!) Count how many times you can toss it before it hits the ground.
It’s another great exercise option and it’s always great fun – turn the music up and show your child your moves. Keeping fit with your child brings you together and provides a sense of achievement and a greater focus on life and motivation. You will find that when you make fitness a part of family time, it will become as natural as eating dinner together. It doesn’t have to be hard work. It can be great fun and one of the best parts is, the fitter you get, the more energy you will have to enjoy life.
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This article was written by Giraffe Childcare for eumom.ie