Working out with kids around is difficult. I know, I have three of them between 5 and 12 years old. It gets easier as they grow and become more independent. Then the focus should shift from using them in your workouts as your weights to motivating them to have good exercise habits.
The benefits of a child watching a parent being healthy are immense. It provides the kids with a great example and they are more inclined to work hard toward what they want. As we all know, action speaks louder than words. Get them involved early, and watch them grow into hard-working adults.
The Baby Stage:
Having a child in the baby stage is a tough one, but it’s not the toughest stage of working out with kids. The experts will tell you to work out while your baby is napping. But this was always the time I used to get housework done, and I don’t know about you, but I hate having a workout cut short.
There are many types of workouts you can do with your baby. You can run with them in a jogging stroller, take a Mommy and Me fitness class, or use your baby as resistance and lift them like the cutest weight you’ve ever seen.
The Toddler Stage:
I would rate toddlers as the toughest age group—and not just for getting your workout done. As a rule, they are stubborn and never really want to do things that you want them to do. But there is good news—with some imagination you can still get a workout around these guys.
My kids all loved a good stroll. My daughter would sit peacefully in the jogging stroller and be snoring within minutes. Toddlers are also very good at yoga, and they really have fun doing the poses with you. My kids like to crawl underneath me anytime I went into a plank or downward facing dog. It works great as motivation to not release the hold—I never wanted to fall on them. Toddlers can also still be used as weights, and they think it’s great fun.
The main focus with toddlers is to spin things for them. Make a game out of the workout, otherwise, they will never buy into it. Toddlers especially love dance parties and yoga.
The Preschool Stage:
Once your child reaches preschool age, they are more suggestible to games and competition. Have a dance-off with them, or see how many sit-ups you can each do. Incorporate counting into your routine with them—it’s great practice for school. Squats, jumping jacks, jump rope, and sit-ups are all great exercises to do with your preschooler. Or take them for a walk to a park and do some strength exercises while they are playing on the jungle gym—pull-ups, standing sit-ups.
Get creative and have fun!
The Older Kid Stage:
Elementary through high school kids are great to work out with. They are rather competitive with their parents so you be sure to have a great workout session with them. Sometimes my older kids and I have circuit competitions—who can do the most sit-ups, push-ups, wall sits, planks, burpees. It’s great fun and an excellent workout. Your kids love spending quality time with you even if it doesn’t always seem like it.
Kids love to run—take the smaller ones with you on your easy days. And challenge those older kids with longer or faster runs. Who knows, you could spark a lifetime love of healthy habits.
Do you work out with your kids? I would love to hear what you do to stay in shape while your kids are competing for your attention.