Soccer. Baseball. Hockey. Tennis. Swimming. Marching band. Bowling. Cub scouts. Religious ed.
Does this litany of activities sound at all familiar? As a parent I feel like I spend hours every week driving all over town to drop off or pick up my kids from their activities. Between the driving and work and making meals and doing laundry, life can feel a bit like running on a treadmill in the winter: boring and repetitive and thankless. When was the last time you took a walk or went skiing or danced? When was the last time your kids saw you doing something active like swimming or riding a bike or swinging at the playground?
I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time for any of that and I’m not even sure I want to do it! But here’s a thought to consider: if you want your children to be healthy and active, they need to see you doing something active too. It’s like anything else; if you don’t eat broccoli, it’s going to be tough to convince your children it’s important. Children love being active and even though they are naturally running around and playing all the time when they are 7 or 8, by the time they are 11 or 12 if they aren’t immersed in a sport they love they will probably fall off the wagon and become a couch potato.
We all want our kids to be healthy and frankly most of us want to be in better shape ourselves. So why not take 20 minutes away from the TV or your iPhone or *gasp* the laundry and take a walk. Even if it’s 9 o’clock at night, bundle up and go around the block a few times. Or go to the mall with the kids on Saturday and walk quickly like the older folks do who go there to exercise in the winter. Or take the kids to the playground and instead of blowing warm breath onto your cold hands, get on the swing and pump those legs a bit. Or turn on some music at home and dance for 20 minutes (alone or with your kids). Or get the Wii remote out and have a Wii tennis match with your child. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it and your kids might get a chuckle out of seeing you doing something out of the norm. And by being active yourself your kids might be active in adulthood too!