Keeping your kids active can be tricky, especially with the cancellation of extracurricular activities and homeschooling coming into effect.
And if your family is currently under quarantine and can’t leave the house, it’s even more difficult.
For Dugard, keeping some semblance of a morning routine is helpful.
“Start the day as you mean to go on,” she told TheLatch—. “As a family, we (while we can) we are getting out of the house for a walk before ‘school’ starts — just like we would if we were heading to school.
“We have also been taking mini-breaks during the day to get active. If you have slightly older kids, they can be timed running around the block or in a safe place (make sure they know they are going to try and beat their time for the next one!). Younger kids could run with parents or have them scooter next to you, so you get some fresh air and movement too.”
Motivating kids to be active can be hard at times, especially when Bluey is calling. But, Dugard recommends finding the type of movement they like and lean into it.
“Some kids love to move and others not so much, so the best way to make exercise fun is to allow kids to move in ways they love to move rather than trying to make it too structured,” she said.
“If you have a kid that loves gymnastics, challenge them to handstand or headstand competitions. If they love to play ball sports challenge them to see how many times they can kick their ball against the wall.”
For those families who are currently in isolation, harness the power of technology to create ways to move indoors (or in your backyard).
“There are a number of kids fitness and sporting activities that have gone online and there are a number of free apps and YouTube videos out there to keep them entertained,” Dugard said.
“Many local classes have now gone virtual as well. For example, my son’s karate classes are now being delivered via Zoom.”
Otherwise, it might be helpful to get the whole family involved in an exercise sesh in order to make it more appealing for your kiddies.
“If you make it a game and everyone chooses an exercise to build the workout together, then the kids feel like they have more involvement and are more likely to be enthusiastic,” said Dugard.
“For example, have each family member choose an exercise, and the reps of each exercise are their age. You choose how many circuits you will all complete. My kids and husband have been doing this every Saturday morning in our lounge room.”
And, as a parent, it’s important for you to keep active — both for your physical and mental health.
“With many parents now working from home and playing teacher, canteen lady, school nurse, and everything in between, there is the potential to become more overwhelmed than ever before,” says Dugard.
“We are also living in close quarters with our partners which can add to the stress. If both parents are supporting each other to take time out and exercise, they are in turn supporting their relationship and ability to be the best they can be for their children through this time.
“Research commissioned by Fitness Australia showed that Australians who are active more often are likely to be more satisfied with their mental health and 52% of Australian parents believed exercise gives them more energy.”
Try tag-teaming with your partner, so you watch the kids while they do a workout and vice versa. There is so much being offered in the way of virtual exercise classes at the moment, so you can train with your favourite fitness professionals from the comfort of your lounge room.
“If you are looking for a virtual trainer be sure to check their credentials,” says Dugard. ”
Ask if they are properly insured to train virtually and a member of Fitness Australia — both of which means you know they are delivering a quality service. Fitness Australia has compiled a list of registered personal trainers offering virtual classes.”
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.