When we think about holidays and winter, exercise isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind.  With small children in your home however, exercise might be the only thing that is going to keep everyone sane over the winter break. Between changing a routine, parties filled with treats, overnight guests, travel, cold weather, and holiday excitement, taking a break to exercise is vital.  Here are 5 strategies that may help with fitting in exercise when it’s cold and your household is crazy.

  1. Give gifts that encourage activity.  Sleds, rollerblades, balls, trampolines, bikes, Frisbee’s, badminton, croquet, jump ropes, dance video games, and scooters all can get kids and parents excited about moving.
  2. Stay warm.  This one should be obvious, but sometimes we make sure our kids are properly dressed, yet somehow we aren’t. Make sure you are all dressed warmly, and you’ll be more likely to spend more time on the sledding hill with your kids, or at the park playing on the swings.
  3. Get something accomplished!  Whether it’s picking up the yard, taking the dog for a walk, walking to the market or learning something about the environment, incorporating a chore that needs to be accomplished motivates us to get outside with the kids.  End outside time with a warm cup of cocoa at the kitchen table!
  4.  Consider it therapy!  We know from extensive research that kids whoget outside and are active; behave better, have a higher IQ, and have higherself-esteem!  When the kids get too unruly and rambunctious indoors,going outside might just be the best solution to their behavior problems – and your sanity!
  5. Raining?  No problem.  Grab the umbrellas and rainboots and have a blast!  The kids will love it.
  6. Schedule it in.  I love to plan!  If we add something to our calendar, such as ice skating on the 24th, or hiking on Thursday and then tell the kids about it.  You are then completely bound to do that thing.  Kids have memories like elephants and will not let us forget we promised to take them somewhere on a specific day.  There is no getting out of the activity once you’ve let the kids in on the plan.
  7. Invite friends!  Who doesn’t love to socialize? Invite the neighbor kids to come out and play, cousins, friends, etc.  The kids can have fun playing and parents can have fun socializing.  It’s a win-win!

So don’t lock yourselves indoors all winter! Get out, enjoy the season, and make sure everyone participates in a little exercise everyday!

Amy is a mother of three, a graduate of Health Education, and loves food. Her Super Healthy Kids blog is about putting into practice everything she learned working for the Department of Health and applying it to her own family. For more ideas on healthy living, visit www.superhealthykids.com