Tuesday, November 22, 2011

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Up and Moving This Winter

With all the publicity childhood obesity is getting these days, I find myself keeping an eagle eye on my kids’ waistlines. Especially because my daughter inherited the family tendency to be short and chubby, poor kid. Getting them out and moving in the summer is easy. Between the pool, the park and a yard full of cats, nudging them out the front door is a piece of cake.

Cats. Best bribe to go outdoors ever.

In the middle of winter, when there’s a foot of snow on the ground and the wind’s whipping so hard you lose feeling (everywhere) between the front door and the car, it's a WHOLE different story! Getting them to go outside then is more like fruitcake than Devil’s Food. It’s distasteful. Hard to swallow. And nobody else in your family wants a piece of it.
Deep in your heart, can you really blame them?
So now you have an entire winter spent inside, bored kids climbing the walls and the television and computer conveniently placed as a clever distraction. Don’t talk yourself into just turning on the TV and letting them go. Here are 10 tips to keep your kids up and moving when the snow starts falling down.
1)      Pick up a membership. Anywhere. The YMCA and the Children’s Museum of Play are responsible for 90% of my sanity during the winter. It keeps them entertained, gives them a place to run and gives us all a fighting chance to get through the cold weather in one piece.
2)      Get them involved. Dance. Basketball. Swim team. Karate. Chances are, there’s someone near you that offers any and/or all of the above. Take advantage of it.
3)      Have playtime daily. There’s not a kid in the world that doesn’t love to play tag or wrestle in the living room. It’s a matter of taking the time. Sure, it’s going to cut into your schedule, but isn’t having healthy, happy, tired kids worth it?
4)      Make an obstacle course. Build an obstacle course around your house and time the kids as they go running through it. Change it up daily.
5)      Kids’ fitness videos are your friend. There have been a lot of mornings that have found all four of us crouched on the floor doing yoga. Mommy & Me Yoga and other, similar programs are a great way to let your kids expand their horizons, stretch their muscles, burn some energy…and let you get in a workout at the same time.
6)      Put a mattress on the floor. They’re going to need to jump on it. Trust me on this one.
7)      Have a dance party. Turn off the television, put in a CD and see what happens.
8)      Stock up on NERF shooters and fun noodles. The chance to stalk their siblings through the house is practically irresistible. Kids love to play with each other. Save your pillows and give them the safe tools to do it.
9)      Invest in a Wii. Video games aren’t my favorite solution, but even I’ll admit that Wii boxing makes you break a sweat. Just make sure it’s something that keeps them up and moving.
10)   Get out. Find an indoor playplace. Hang out at Chuck E. Cheese. Go out running errands. Just getting out of the house, even if you’re in the car as often as not, is going to help them burn energy and keep those little legs pumping.
What’s your best advice for keeping your kids moving when winter rolls around?

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