The summer months are always difficult to navigate for parents. With kids out of school, parents have to find ways to keep their kids busy while they work. During a pandemic, when we are sheltering in place as a family and some members of the family try to work from home as others play and look for cures from boredom, having a plan is more important than ever. How do we get our kids to unplug from TV and technology and keep the family healthy by exercising regularly? It is important to stay on top of your family’s exercise time, and these activities can help you do so.
Daily Workout Hour
Choosing a time to commit to exercising each day will help keep your family active, even on a busy schedule. What you do is not the most important part — you can go for a jog, spend some time swimming, or even do some yoga. The important part is staying consistent in order to make the habit stick. If you choose a time that works with your schedules year-round, you should be able to instill this routine into your children and perhaps build a lifelong habit. My wife is a morning workout person. She loves her morning 3-5 mile run all before 9am. For me, I find a midday or post-work workout to be the energy boost and stress relief I need. Looping my son into my afternoon workouts in our makeshift garage gym has been an added bonus for bonding.
Playing organized sports is a part of many children’s lives. However, many kids are not actively playing on a team during the summer, and with COVID-19 still making its way around, it is not clear if there will be organized fall sports this year. To make up for that, try a pick-up game of your favorite sport in the backyard or head to an open park with lots of space. Kids can be competitive, so use this to your advantage and make a game out of it with them. Who can throw the farthest or get the best time around the track? Turning staying active into a mini-competition against their parents or siblings, or even just trying to beat their person best, can be the motivation they need to get moving.
Active Video Games
Many kids love to play video games. Gaming is a major part of the technology culture for children, and in well-monitored multiplayer online games it can be a nice way for them to socially connect with their peers or distant family members online. It can definitely be tough to pull them away from their screens. Yet, there are video games that require physical activity to play. One example of this is Just Dance, the series where people can dance along to pop songs by following choreography on the screen. Another game is Ring Fit Adventure, which combines running in place with strength exercises to beat quests. A great benefit of these games is that they can be played indoors when the weather is not ideal. Most of the common video game platforms now have some form of active video game offerings, and regardless of whether you like to dance, play tennis, bowl or compete in a decathlon, there is something for everyone.
Keeping children active is a difficulty for most parents during the best of times. Today, it is even more challenging, whether due to social distancing, or because kids have so many technology options for activities that keep them inactive. However, if you make it a priority and take the time to make exercise fun for your family, you will see that, while they may put up a fight at first, your kids will be receptive and will end up healthier and happier in the long run.
Erik Halvorsen is a devoted father, loving husband, and ambitious innovator; he is consistently searching for new technology to help cure diseases, benefit patients’ lives, and change how we experience healthcare. He was named one of the top 30 Chief Innovation Officers in healthcare in the country, and he has been listed as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Boston. Erik is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.