When I was little, I rode my bike everywhere and loved to play outside. There wasn’t a play date or a specific purpose to it, I was a little kid on a mission to have fun and explore. Did you grow up this way too? This concept seems so different than today. We live in different times, and unfortunately safety is an issue. So how do we encourage our children to love exercise, when it seems normal for them to come home from school and park themselves in front of the television or computer? I’ve noticed even my three year old wanting to kick back in the recliner and watch TV, and I have to laugh.

Wanting to encourage family health and wellness, I came up with some practical ideas:

  • Children love music, create an Ipod play list for them and put it on where they can dance. This is my daughter’s favorite, especially in front of the mirror.
  • Take a family walk after dinner.
  • Come up with an appropriate amount of time to be on the Internet and for watching TV.
  • Hike on trails. Getting the kids outside and into nature is something they love.
  • If they talked you into buying a dog, make them stick to their promise of walking it and buy balls and Frisbees to encourage more activity with their pet.
  • Jump ropes, cones, stop watches, and hula hoops, all make for backyard fun. Create obstacle courses and time each other. I run sprints in my backyard, and my daughter runs with me with the timer. Kids love to be included and have responsibility.
  • Baseball, basketball, football, soccer and my family favorite pickle ball are all fun.
  • Gyms offer children’s exercise classes, check to see if you can coordinate one with your workout.
  • If possible, walk to their bus stop so you can walk home together. Encourage other moms to walk, creating a walk pool rather than a car pool.
  • If you’re family has been devastated by a disease, participate in supporting that cause. Such as a breast cancer or heart disease walk or run.

Do you find it hard to get your children to exercise? Do you participate in family activities? Can you share with other moms what you’ve found that works? Don’t you agree leading by example will help teach our children how important daily activity is and instill a love of exercise in them?

Here’s a picture of me and Giavella at the Finish Line at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk.