Happy Wednesday! I’ve got another great guest post coming to you today. This post is perfect if you are a parent. Erin from Parenting Healthy is bringing you a post on playing for health, which features helpful playtime activities so that you are spending quality time with children of all ages.
We are told how important it is to find time to exercise. We’re told that we can set our alarms early before the kids get up or wait until they fall asleep at night to sneak in exercise. I don’t know about you, but I need my sleep when I can get it without another reason to wake up too early. We all want to live healthier lives for ourselves and for our family, but where do we fit in exercise and wellness? Play! Not only is play fun, but your children will eat up your attention too.
I have broken down this topic of Playing for Health by age. If you can get moving with the kids you become healthier and so does your children’s well being.
Playing for Health: Quality Time with Children of All Ages:
Playing for Health with Infants
Perhaps you have been able to find ways to sneak in exercise with naps, so this age tends to give us extra time except we are so tired in or days as we get used to being a parent! Enter YouTube! That’s right, I sad the Y-word. Have you seen the Exercising with Baby videos? Not only do you get fit, but my son would love it when I was swinging and picking him up in fun ways. The giggles kept me moving and his smiles helped me forget how hard I was working. You can watch online videos, order DVD’s or even join a local baby fitness class to engage with other new parents.
Playing for Health with Toddlers
Who needs the exercise most, you or the toddler? The answer is both of you! So, get outside and try these fun outdoor activities to get you and your child moving.
- Scavenger Race! Pick a letter a day. Start with the letter A. As you walk to the park or trail, talk about the letter A and name some words that start with A that they may see. Once you get there, start the race. Ask them to run and touch things they think begin with ‘A’ and you follow. Younger toddlers will get a lot wrong as they learn and that is OK, they will run and so will you. The excitement and running will tire them quickly and you will be right behind them keeping them safe and close.
- Summer Chalk Games! Can’t get to a park or trail? Grab the chalk and draw an obstacle course or fun hopscotch themes. What you may notice is as they near the age of school, you are essentially ‘at recess’ with them. This is a great way to get them used to playing with others. They have to get used to following rules and losing/winning with a good attitude. They move, you move and they learn!
Playing for Health with your Elementary Child
By the age of about 6-10 they are out and about more. Perhaps you sit at T-ball practice and you can ask another parent if they want to walk the field perimeter with you. I can always find a parent willing to sneak in a walk while the kids practice, you’re just sitting there anyway.
Take the weekends and find festivals or trails where walking is the activity. A day at the local art festival or farm gets you moving a lot more than sitting in a movie theater and eating popcorn. We have a local pumpkin patch we visit more than once in the fall. We just walk around, pet animals and get moving for a few hours.
Playing for Health with your Middle Schooler
“Ughh, Mom! I don’t play games anymore!” Yes, they do! Am I about to suggest you play video games? Yes and here is why. If you have a typical game-passion tween or teen then take an interest in their interests. Sneaking quality time with them is as easy as squeezing out the last drop of toothpaste, so get on their level. I never sit if I play my son’s games with him. Not only do I get to know exactly what he’s playing and how he behaves, but when I stand to play and things get intense I get tense. I move my arms a lot to react and even hop at action parts. I play his inactive games actively.
Not digging the gaming thing? You can grab a ball and challenge them. My son loves video games, but he also plays sports. I don’t know how to handle a game of 1V1 in basketball, but I can play a mean game of HORSE. Again, to ‘play with a teen’ you have to stay at their level and keep them interested in the time together. I promise that after an action-packed video game of Halo or a killer game of HORSE, you’ll get your moves in and get a smile out of that kid after all!
But, my teen is a girl! Sorry, I live in a world of all sons and all nephews. Girls have interests too and many have the games, sports or activities they play. Whatever their interests are, find an active way to share that with them. They are selfish at this age and should be to a point so you have to do what interests them to get their attention and start from there!
Photo Souce: Pixabay
Living a healthier life is more than exercise and eating fewer carbs. A healthy life is having a healthy well being. It is creating a healthy body as well as a happy child and a family that bonds and works together to move, talk and enjoy life. Playing for Health is not always about pounds shed, but time spent and memories created. So, grab the kids and get moving!
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For more from Erin Sluka, visit her blog Parenting Healthy where she offers topics and product features that help families live happy, healthy and active lives.