The cooler temperatures in fall are great for spending time doing things outside. But soon we are going to be spending a lot more time indoors because of shorter days and bad weather. And with that comes the challenge of how to keep our kids (and ourselves) active.
It seemed much easier when I was growing up. We were outside all day. I had to be home by 6 pm for dinner but after that out we went again until dark. The only parameters set by my parents were: “Stay off the road, be home for dinner and before dark”. It is very different today—especially in cities—as we do not feel safe or comfortable just letting our children just run around the neighbourhood on their own.
Here are some ways to keep kids active as the weather turns colder:
1. Sign your child up for organized sports/activities. They will have fun with friends learning new skills.
2. Use their favourite sport or activity as a motivator for activity outside of the scheduled sport. For example, go outside and play road hockey to help with ice hockey, put a mat in the basement so they can practice gymnastics, etc.
3. Take advantage of inexpensive (or free!) public activities, like skating, swimming, rock climbing, and whatever else is offered at your local community centres during the winter.
4. Teach them about healthy, active bodies and to embrace activity as a way to take care of ourselves. It is something we do for our bodies just like we brush our teeth to prevent cavities.
5. Plan family activities on the weekends that you can all do together (go hiking, make snow angels, go cross country skiing, shovel the driveway together). Our children love nothing more than spending time with us. It doesn’t have to expensive or fancy—just fun together.
6. Turn off all screens at certain times/days of the week. In our house, “shut-down” was usually followed by complaints and then the realization that they had to find something else to do. That resulted in them either going outside or using their imaginations to find something fun to do indoors.
7. Make them go outside for a set time. I would simply my kids they had to go outside and play and couldn’t come in for 30 to 60 minutes (start small). Sure, they would sometimes come and ask if they could come in earlier, but I stuck to my guns, and inevitably they would start to have fun didn’t want to come in.
8. Make room for play. Make sure there is an area in the house that is suitable for them to run and play. They much prefer this to a beautiful basement with a pool table.
9. Create active fun indoors. And for those days when the weather is just beyond awful, there is always Wii Fit, or let them do one of your exercise videos, or create a scavenger hunt in the house that has them going up and down the stairs over and over again.
Enjoy and have fun!
PHOTO: DAMEJOY/FLICKR CC
Elisabeth is a fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle coach; and as the owner of FIT4YOU (www.fit4you.ca), she loves helping people find ways to live active and healthy lives. She is also working as a PRO TRAINER delivering certification courses to those who wish to follow in her footsteps and become personal trainers. Her passion for living a life filled with vitality is evident in her four boys who are growing up to be active and healthy young men.