2 years ago1,000+ Views
I'm a single parent whose kid receives virtually no contact from the other parent, so instead I rely of the help of family and friends to survive. I work really odd hours (4ish-midnight, but I tend to stay an extra hour or two), so I do not get to spend as much time with my kiddo as I would like. Health and fitness are really important to me so I try to incorporate it into daily life when at all possible.
My son really likes going to the park and the community we live in has a nature trail that is at least 2 miles long that passes through the park so whenever we go, we almost always go on foot--either that or ride our bikes! Since I adopted a lovely anatolian shephard mix dog about 4 months ago, I try to give her some attention to so she always comes along.
Lately the kiddo has gotten into this habit of turning everything into a race. I've managed to curb it by reinforcing that not everything is a race (and that it's not nice to call people losers when we secretly let him win). This has also created a positive effect of him wanting to go running with me, but between his growing 5-year-old body and my 100lb dog this is not an easy task.
My son and I usually do a combination of walking/jogging the 3 miles from our house, around the trail, stop at the park halfway through the trail, and make our way back home. I'll admit we've been working on this since we moved into our house 2 years ago.

1. Add an incentive that will entice your child's interest to follow through

My son loves going to the park. He also didn't object to exploring the nature trail in our neighborhood, but it was a lot of activity for his 3-year-old body when we initially started. The pros of this was it exhausted him pretty quickly and he took a nap easy when we got home; the cons of this was it exhausted him pretty quickly and I typically had to carry him at some point to make it back home.

2. Make it a habit

At first I tried to do this everyday that I had off, but soon it turned into a weekly thing. "Anak" as I like to call him has never tired of going to the park, but by doing it continuously it has built up his endurance of walking long distances. I'll also admit that I take him to our local theme park, Busch Gardens, and encourage him to walk otherwise we will go home if I have to carry him. This rule has also carried on now that we are annual Disney passholders--I do get guilty because Disney is way bigger than Busch Gardens so I will offer to carry him, but Anak will usually insist on walking by himself. *He's such a big boy, tear*

3. Let them make the decisions

I let Anak choose which way to go. Our neighborhood has 2 streets that run parallel to one another and 3 streets that intersect them, on our route to the trails. Typically we'll follow one street to the trail and take the other one on the way back. The trail itself also has a few scenic-viewing opportunities that present at forks on the road, as well as other trails that lead to different neighborhoods (we live in a very large community that is itself composed of smaller subdivisions). Whenever the trails divide I always ask Anak which way should we go. We always go the same way, but I like to use these opportunities to practice left vs right. We also take turns setting starting/stopping points when we jog since he is still building up his endurance with cardio.

4. Encourage good habits/proper techniques a little at a time

In the past 2 years, by 3-year-old son has gone from walking/being carried to walking/jogging alongside me. While the repetition of these walks to the park have made his little legs strong, his excitement of watching my mom and I workout has once again piqued his curiosity and he thinks it is fun. Although my son initially wanted to race all the time, he now simply wants to "work out" with me so we share fewer races and just jog (and talk and enjoy sightseeing). I generally set a slow pace for us and continuously have to tell Anak to slow down in an effort to stretch his endurance little by little. I also throw a ton of positive reinforcement his way: "You're doing great!" "Awesome job!" "You're so strong!" "We're almost there, just a little bit more"
1 comment
These are really great tips, thank you. When I have kids of my own, I really do want to lead by example and be active WITH them!