One of the most common questions I get asked is how to stay active while raising young children. For many moms and dads, childcare, gym memberships, even 5 minutes alone can feel unattainable. So how do we put time and energy into our health, goals and mental stability when life seems unstable? How do you show up for yourself when you have little ones who you always seem to show up for first?
As parents, we live in the tension of what is best for me, and what is best for my family, and often time we think we need to choose one over the other. My hope is that these next few thoughts give you some ideas on how to include your kids in your fitness journey, which I believe with all my heart, will make you a better version of you and a better parent as well. These are some things that have helped me along the way. Some may resonate with you, other idea may not work. The goal is to share openly and honestly the journey with each other, so we all grow and feel supported along the way.
1) Get the kids involved with your goals.
They don’t need to love it, they don’t even need to like it, and they may even fight you on it for a period of time. Change is hard for kids to adjust to especially when it comes to boundaries around our time with them. One of the things that has worked for me is getting the kids involved with my plan for the day. If I know I’m going to have to get a workout in with them, I explain what I’ll be doing, ask them to be a part of it and continually express to them how important it is for Mommy to sweat it out and feel strong. 90% of the time the kids are doing the workout with me for the first 10 minutes and then move on to building Lego right next to me. This didn’t happen overnight, but by consistently communicating my goals with them and how they can help, I’ve seen a positive change in their reaction to my workout times.
2) Start small
Don’t jump into the workout process with kids expecting to get 30 minutes or even 5 minutes in without tears or melt downs. Maybe your kids will rock it, but mine literarily see me move out of the snack prep area of the kitchen or notice I’ve shifted my attention away from them for 2 minutes and someone is clinging to my leg, asking for a snack or tackling a sibling. I focus on small wins. 10 minutes a day has the ability to change your body, improve your health and boost your healthy hormones. In the beginning, I would celebrate 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes during nap time (add it together and its 10) Anything above 10 minutes is a bonus!
3) Make it fun.
I have “my” workout music and I have “mommy” workout music. “My” workout music typically consists of heavy rap (it really helps me work through that last set haha) and my “Mommy” playlists consists of happy songs to get the kids involved and excited to move their bodies in any possible way that will make time for me to get one more set of push-ups in. They love to pick the songs and I find that by allowing them to help me plan my workout programs they feel ownership and excitement over what I’m doing in my workouts.
4) Celebrate together.
Hitting a new personal best in my workout or running faster than I have before gets me so pumped up, and I want my kids to understand and feel the excitement of these achievement. Because of this, our family is constantly celebrating together! Whether it’s trying a new donut place, hitting up a new climbing gym or planning a special movie night, when I hit my goals it’s an achievement for the whole Doell team. This has taught our kids that being strong and healthy can be fun, exciting and rewarding.
I hope these few thoughts spark some of your own ideas that you can implement in your own house. And if you just pulled out your calendar and are trying to find a day that will be good to start some of these things, burn your calendar and start today. No day will every feel like the right day to start, and every day will have its different challenges that make it easy to push this to the next day. Often times the biggest challenge is just overcoming the fear of starting something. Here’s your next step. Put this magazine down, grab your kids, put some music on, and start moving your body!!
This workout is one of my favourites to do with the kids. I recommend a fun playlist and an open dance floor.
- 1 minute high knees
- 15 push ups
- 1 minute squats
- 30 jumping jacks
- 1 minute jumping lunges
- 15 triceps dips (on chair or bench)
- 30 seconds-1 minute burpies
- Finish with a plank hold for 1 minute
- (You most likely will end up with a child on your back.)
If you can get all the way through this set, start it all over again for 1-2 more times!
Photography By: Brit Gill
Outfit By: GirlFriend