Finding time for exercise can be hard enough for busy moms and dads, but adding a baby or child to the mix can create even more of a challenge for squeezing in a workout. The good news is that working out as a parent doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. In fact, there are several benefits involved with including your child in your workout routine.
At The Gardner School, movement and exercise is important, and we find ways to incorporate it into the learning environment through indoor and outdoor playtime, as well as through fitness-driven enrichment classes. For The Gardner School’s on-to-go families, here are some benefits and tips for working out with your little one.
Benefits of Working Out with Your Child
Working out with your child can be beneficial to both parties involved. Not only can you model an active and healthy lifestyle at an early age, but you can also reap the benefits of spending some quality time with your child through exercise. Consider these four benefits that can come along with parent-child workouts.
Bonding—No matter the activity, bonding is a wonderful benefit of exercising with your child. Even for babies, the movement and interaction can enhance the connection between a parent and child. From eye contact to being held closely, a few minutes of bonding with children is good for the body and soul.
Wellness—While an obvious benefit of working out with your child, health and wellness of both parent and child is important and should be given a priority in your schedule. Even a little bit of movement and physical activity each day can go a long way in keeping fit and healthy, and even improve sleeping patterns.
Healthy Habits—As children see parents give priority and intention to fitness, chances are high that they will grow to embrace those same practices and principles. Healthy habits are developed early, so it’s never too soon to start.
Physical Development—From proper head control to taking first steps, exercising with children can be beneficial in a child’s physical development. Working out with your child can help them advance their motor skills, muscle development, and head, neck, and trunk control.
Tips for Including Children in Your Workout Routine
While it won’t always be easy, including your child in your exercise routine can be fun. Finding the right activities might take some trial and error, but here are a few tips you might want to try in getting started.
Hiking—Hitting the trail with your child can be a fun adventure for both parent and child. Children who aren’t walking yet will enjoy nature’s sights and sounds from your carrier, while children who are walking can observe the beauty of nature by keeping pace alongside you. Hiking is also a great opportunity to have some quality conversations with your child.
Fitness Class—Many gyms and fitness facilities now offer classes that include babies and children. From mama (or daddy) and baby yoga to a baby-wearing dance class, check out what your local fitness center offers and give it a try. The best part is that you won’t be alone on the adventure.
Jogging/Running—A neighborhood jog or run will look much different when involving a child, so this activity will likely require a jogging stroller. Most infants and toddlers will enjoy the ride and might even nap depending on the smoothness of your path.
Dance—Crank up the music and burn some calories while dancing with your child. Dance is not only a good way to work up a sweat, but it’s a lot of fun. The whole family can participate, and it can be even more entertaining if you let your child choose the music.
Above all, when working out with your child, make sure to pace yourself, be optimistic, get creative, and—most importantly—have fun. Busyness doesn’t have to stand in the way of your family’s wellness.
To learn about The Gardner School’s full suite of enrichment courses, including our fitness-driven classes that students can participate in during the school day, visit our enrichment page or talk to your school director today.