We’re podiatrists – and we’re parents too! Social distancing or not, making sure our kids get enough physical activity is a priority for us because we know the impact it has not just on their strength, coordination, flexibility and posture, but on their confidence too. With many social distancing protocols still in place across Australia, we’re sharing the ways that we are keeping our kids active when they’re at home.
1. Lead By Example
When you were very little, do you remember watching your older siblings complete push-ups and sit-ups in their bedrooms? Remember what you did? Copied them. Kids are sponges to our behaviours and they love spending time together. This means that when they see you exercise, they’ll often want to get involved, joining in as best they can by mimicking our behaviour. Be purposeful in involving your child in your workout, encouraging them to follow along with you.
2. Family circuit
Just like a circuit at the gym, create stations around your living or outdoor area with different fun activities that are suitable for kids – and adults! Think along the lines of star jumps, crab crawls, bridges, lying on your back and making cycling motions with your feet, bouncing a ball and plenty more.
Stay at each station for one minute, with a 15-second break in between. For things like star jumps, count how many you can do in the timeframe and make it a family competition – and a goal for the kids to try to beat. This way, they can look forward to the circuit and beating that record! Importantly, let the kids pick the music!
3. Explore new activities together
While screen-time faces much scrutiny, having the world at your fingertips can also help kids explore new activities via video and choose one they’d like to do. We remember we learnt plenty of karate moves as a child from TV! Letting your child pick the activity gives them control, making them more likely to adhere to the activity.
Hoops bring our kids plenty of enjoyment too – whether that’s spending hours on their ‘shooting game’ with a hoop used for netball or basketball in the backyard or learning how to hula hoop.
4. Learn a dance
Our kids love making up dances and learning new dances. Encourage them, learn dances with your kids, and organise family performance evenings where everyone can show off their moves. For those that don’t enjoy dancing, turn the performance evening into a talent show where they can show off magic tricks or other talents.
5. Teach them your favourites
What was your favourite physical activity as a child? Some of ours were hopscotch, handball and playing twister! If you have some goodies that your kids don’t know – teach them. Otherwise, you can create game time where on different days, you can alternate between your own favourite childhood game, and theirs.
6. Indoor obstacle course
From crawling under tables to avoiding the lines marked on the ground, jumping on one leg and dunking the ball in the hoop, we’ve seen our kids absolutely love indoor obstacle courses! Depending on your floor plan, you can also lead it outdoors or make it outdoors altogether.
We always keep the course the same for about a week (make notes or take a photo on your phone so you remember the exact setup!) and then time your kids, encouraging them to beat their record. Change up the course every week or two for a new and exciting challenge!
7. Make activity dice
When you have multiple kids at home, an activity dice can keep things fair. Create dice out of cardboard, getting your kids to choose an equal amount of games or activities to write on the faces of the dice. If you have blank spaces, fill those in yourself. When you feel your kids getting restless, roll the dice to decide what activity to do next!
8. Super soakers and water balloons
Water play is always a fun activity in our household – so why not turn it into a weekly water fight? Get the kids (and yourselves) armed with super soakers, fill up the water balloons, and go for it. It’s fun, it’s super active, and it creates memories that kids love – we still remember our own!