Maybe you share your favorite sports with your kids or include them in some of your workouts. But, showing them how to be healthy doesn’t have to always involve sweat. And sometimes Daddy gets…well, tired. Take things down a notch and learn how to make walking part of your kids’ daily lives. It’s a great way to increase their exercise without overwhelming them.
Give Them a Pedometer
If your kids are attached to their phones, show them how to use health apps. There’s nothing like a new gadget to intrigue a child. Pedometers are inexpensive and can clip onto their clothes or belts, or you can present them with a rudimentary wrist fitness tracker. You can set them with goals, and you might be surprised at the high numbers. Experts recommend that adults get 10,000 steps a day, but kids need even more. Girls should aim for 11,000 to 12,000, while boys’ targets are 13,000 to 15,000.
Start Walking To School
Taking a break from school physically could make it easier to start a new routine. Depending on your location and how busy streets are, you can get up a little earlier and stroll with your kids each morning. If you’ve been working from home, it might even be a “mini-commute” to replace your own and clear your head for the day. If you’re not able to accompany your kids, you could form an exercise group with neighbors. It’s also worth your while to take advantage of the federal Safe Routes to School program, which can establish better routes and incentives.
Make It a Game
It might be asking a lot to expect kids to amble through the forest preserve and quietly admire nature. If you want to make walking part of your kids’ daily lives, there has to be something in it for them—namely, entertainment. Bring a map and see if they can navigate where they want to go. Challenge them to speed-walking races. Improvise a scavenger hunt for objects that start with each letter of their names. Examine different insects with a magnifying glass. Use boulders and logs as elements of an obstacle course that goes on until you get home. If your kids get bored easily, you could end up doing all these activities—and having a super fun time!