By: Brittany Gossin - Contributing Blogger
Yesterday morning by some miracle my one year old slept until 8 am, but for some reason my three and nine year old were wide awake on the couch, and what were they doing? Playing on the kindle and the iPad. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of allowing them to have more screen time than they probably should, but how else could I sneak eating the last Oreo before they see? I voiced my worries to my husband and together we talked about what we can do to get them off the couch, moving, and spending time as a family. Here is what we came up with:
Have a Dance Party:
A habit we’ve gotten into is playing music while we make dinner. I’ll have the kids shut the tv off and come in the kitchen with me while I cook. They love putting music on and we dance together as a family. This is great because it doesn’t feel like exercise. You’re simply moving to the music, jumping around, raising your heart rate, but it isn’t a workout, right? This is a great option because you don’t have to leave the comforts of your own home and you can get things done while you do it. I also find that playing music and dancing around while I clean or cook gets my kids more involved. They see me having a good time with music which makes them want to get up and dance with me. One of our personal favs is “Cotton Eyed Joe”, which, I don’t know about you, but I’m breaking a sweat after doing that dance once!
Dance parties are nice for any day of the week, but sometimes it is also nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s been extremely rainy here for the past week so once the sun peeks through for even an hour my kids, and I, are itching to get outside. One thing my family likes to do is grab our wheels and go out on a “ba-venture” as my three year old says. The girls will have their bikes, hubby grabs his roller blades, the baby is in the jogger, and I’ll run and push it along. The kids love it because they feel like we’re squadding up like the Incredibles as we wheel/ run around the neighborhood. Getting outside doesn’t even have to be anything complicated either. Walking around the neighborhood or making it a race to the end of the street is great too. The point is you’re moving and getting some quality family time.
Another great way to get the family moving is doing a fitness circuit. No, I’m not talking about the ninth grade gym class kind where you awkwardly pretend to do crunches, but instead you lay there waiting for the teacher to look. This one gets the whole family involved in a fun way. We love popsicles in our house and instead of throwing out the sticks we save them and write moves on them like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squats, lunges, burpees (my fave… and by that I mean I completely dislike them), and jog in place, and so on. You can add all kinds of movements to the sticks and then you take turns as a family pulling the out at random. My kids generally argue over who gets to choose the next stick, but mommy has figured that out too and we go youngest to oldest. Another super cool circuit is to make an alphabet chart with moves for each letter. A- jumping jacks, B- pushups, C- crunches, and you can take turns doing everyone’s name. Sometimes when I am especially tired we stick to my name being: MOM. Usually my kids don’t let that one fly, but I try nonetheless.
And… sometimes you just can’t get away from the screens- Use it!
When all else fails if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. There are so many active video games out there, there’s no excuse not to get up and get the whole family moving! My oldest daughter has already requested “Just Dance” for the Wii and the “Step Up” game which is all interactive with dancing. We are so lucky (and cursed sometimes) with the amount of technology we have at our fingertips, but why not use it to help your overall health and well beating while spending time with your family? At least if the kids are going to have screen time it is doing something active and not stationary.
With how busy life can be, it is important to get in some quality family time, but instead of sitting down, spend that quality time up and moving! You’ll find you and your family look forward to it each week.