Trying to get in a workout when you have limited time away from your kids can seem impossible. If your time away from the kids is already spoken for- like that is the time you work or help out with the community, you may feel like you will just need to start working out when the kids grow up. Not so fast.
Self-care is a non-negotiable for moms. We already know how miserable we feel when our needs aren’t being met. And, the bottom line is that neglecting ourselves, no matter how noble it may seem, isn’t really helping anyone. Trust me. That quick temper with the kids is more about our lack of self-care than it is about their behavior. When we take the time to take care of ourselves, it makes doing everything else a lot easier.
While there are no shortage of ways to practice self-care, research has proven that working up a little sweat has way too many benefits to be ignored. Working out in some form is one of the best ways to take care of ourselves.
When you don’t have the consistent help of another adult during a time of day when you will actually work out, it may feel like getting on any type of workout regimen is impossible. But, it isn’t. All it takes is a little creativity, patience, and some trial and error. Before you know it, you will be consistently getting in your workout and your kids will be looking forward to their activity time too.
Here are seven activities that can keep your kids busy while you work out.
Arts & Crafts
The key to making arts and crafts work during your workout is to pick the activity wisely. Choose an activity that your child can do without your help and without making a huge mess that will make you regret you even tried to get in a workout. Some activities for toddlers include coloring, gluing together popsicle sticks, and building with Play-Doh. Older children may enjoy painting, building models, or making no bake recipes. Just make sure that you give your kids all of the supplies that they will need and designate a specific area, preferably linked with paper or old sheets, where they can do their activity.
While so many of us are conscious about not letting the TV become the second mom, we can give a little in this area. A little strategic TV watching can go a long way to helping us keep our sanity. Very few things are able to capture a child’s attention and keep them in the exact same spot like TV. So, leverage this special power and allow your kids to watch an age appropriate show during your workout. Toddlers usually enjoy movies with lots of music and colors and quickly grow bored when there is too much dialogue. Some of my favorite movies for my toddler are made by LeapFrog. These short movies introduce numbers, letters, and words and have tons of upbeat music that keeps my toddler engaged. Some of my favorite movies for my school aged child are Word Girl, Sid the Science Kid, and Odd Squad.
A Learning Game
Much like the television, little digital devices seem to hold the attention of children for a really long time. So, pick a few apps that your children enjoy and download them to a tablet or iPad. This activity works best when tablet time isn’t a regular occurrence. Your children will look forward to your workout just as much as you because it is the time that they get to use the tablet. Some of my favorite toddler apps are Starfall, Letter Quiz, and Bible for Kids. My favorites for lower school aged children are Hungry Fish, Sushi Monster, Chess, and TumlbeBooks.
If you would rather work out in a gym than at home, pick one that has a daycare. While we may hesitate to take advantage of this option if we work outside of the home and our children are at school or daycare, it is still a great option. Generally speaking, children enjoy social interaction with others their age. So, as long as you keep the workouts short and show them plenty of attention when you spend time together, getting your child to look forward to playcare while you work out should be pretty easy.
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Workouts so short that you can actually get them done without being interrupted.
A Kiddie Workout
Some days, your kids will just insist on being with you- no matter what type of alternate activity you offer while you work out. On these days, you can let your kid workout with you. Letting your kids see you take care of your body is an amazing example. It teaches them that you have and fulfill your needs outside of theirs. It also shows them that taking care of your body is normal-even after becoming a mom. Some kids will do great just following along with your normal workout. If that doesn’t work, try one of the kid friendly workouts that I shared over on my blog here.
This activity is more likely to work for older children who are independent readers. Some toddlers may be satisfied to thumb through a book and look at pictures while you exercise. However, most times you will end up being summonsed to read long before your workout is done.
Building With Blocks
Children of all ages enjoy building and creating. Your toddler may enjoy building with a few blocks right near you as you work out. However, you can likely give an older child a specific set to build and get enough alone time for a workout and a nice shower afterwards.
There you have it. Plenty of activities to keep your kids busy while you get your workout done. Remember, you may have to try a few different activities a few times before your kids cooperate. But, the bottom line is that if you stick to efficient workouts and give your kids the chance to entertain themselves, you can get your workouts done even if you don’t have any adult help.