Getting Them Involved Makes You Both Happier
As the mother of a 4-year-old boy, I know how challenging it is finding time to exercise. Not long after bringing him home, I learned the easiest way is often to get him involved.
Babies love to be held; it’s great for bonding and helps them feel secure. As an infant, my son loved riding in a baby carrier as I shopping, walked or engaged in household tasks. While he cried when I tried to do one of my exercise DVDs, he giggled and lit up when I engaged in workout moves similar to these exercises from SheKnows.com. Even though he weighs a lot more nowadays, I still sometimes lie on my back and do “baby presses” with him, as he shrieks in delight.
Another activity started then was taking walks around our neighborhood, pushing him in the stroller. I’ve found this to be a great way to coax him into taking a nap, especially on a warm summer day. Of course, for babies too young for sunscreen, you’ll want to be sure to use a hat and clothing to protect against harmful rays. I found a sun shade that would attach to our stroller, which provided additional protection. A friend of mine, an amateur athlete, bought a jogging stroller and has even participated in a 5K with her little guy!
Toddlers & Preschoolers
As my son became more mobile, our options increased. I rented several kids’ exercise videos to find the ones he liked best. Our favorites are now a permanent part of our routine and a fun way to exercise together. I’ll ask my son if he wants to “have a party,” and we’ll groove to “Sesame Street Get Up and Dance” or “Curious Buddies: Let’s Move.” Thanks to that video, my son grew interested in yoga, so we got the Gaiam video, “YogaKids 3: Silly to Calm.”
Any activity that involves movement is great for you both. In addition to dancing, we go to a park and kick or throw a ball; play tag; or go swimming. He loves playing hide and seek, happily racing around the house for a half an hour or more, trying out new hiding spaces or searching for me. Remember: even though playing may not be as intense as an aerobic workout, movement of any kind helps you burn calories and helps your little one to tone muscle and improve coordination.
originally published in 2005 on Yahoo! Contributor Network