Let’s Stay Active!

As you know we’ve been blessed with a large family. I’ve got two girls and five boys. Like all parents, I worry about their health and fitness. I do my best to make healthy meals, offer filling snacks, and model good behavior. One day as I was out exercising I began thinking about the kinds of exercise the kids are getting.

Right now we don’t do organized sports, but I realized that my kids are extremely active without joining a sports team. And because we homeschool, they also don’t participate in P.E. in a school setting.

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things we do to stay active as a family and see what you do to model good behavior to the kids in your family – rather sons/daughters or other children you have regular contact with.

Here are some things my family does to stay active and fit:

  • Greatly limit television and video games. In fact, we have movie night once a week and that’sall theTV for the four smallest boys. Video games are occasional and time limits are strictly enforced.
  • Portray exercise in a positive light. I try to never complain about exercising, but rather tell them how much I like it. (Fortunately this is now true!)
  • Don’t sit down when I can get up. I really try to not send the kids on errands around the house that I can do myself.
  • Engage them in play. In our own yard, we play:
    • soccer
    • baseball
    • basketball
    • tag
    • scooter
    • ride bikes
    • I don’t always get out there with them, but there are enough times that I do that they realize I think those things are fun to do and activities I enjoy also.
  • If it’s raining or cold outside, we relax the “no running in the house” rule and when the boys get going with a good game of Star Wars tag or just “Chase Your Brother Until He Can’t Run Anymore” I just try and tune it out. I find a nice cup of hot tea helps a bit.
  • Nothing organized, but just get outside and use our imaginations! (Which is what they are doing in the picture above!)

This has all helped my kids stay active and at a healthy weight for their age and height. And of course, they don’t drink sodas ever or eat junk very often. That helps too!

What ideas do you have to keep kids active and fight the whole childhood obesity dilemma?  Diane

34 thoughts on “Let’s Stay Active!

  1. Marcelle says:

    I’m exhausted reading this entry….LOL
    I miss not having children in my home…I have to share with you…I am going to be a Nana of baby no 5 in November…my daughter is pregnant with baby no 2…in 5 years I have 5 grandchildren…who would have guessed – and all born with me being out of the country!!!
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..My thoughts today =-.

  2. Emergefit says:

    I like the old fashioned stuff and used them quite a bit with my daughter when she was smaller; obstacle courses, jungle gyms, and our favorite — tree climbing. She’s twenty now, and we still shimmy up the trees on occasion. We recently did this to gain a better veiw of an outdoor concert. I was thrilles that she had the ability to do so — so many of her frie
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..Shower Power… =-.

  3. Diane says:

    Like you I homeschool, but unlike you I have an only and it can be really challenging to create the team sports environment. We do not do official team sports because of his weight ( he is a high functioning Autistic who had severe texture issues and as a result his weight ballooned to 4320 lbs. Park District sports will not allow any child over 200 lbs to participate – and it is a wise safety move for the other children). We do the President’s Physical Fitness challenge every year in the nicer months( it involves basic things like chin ups, timed runs and so forth. I can’t run but my son loves to !). We also walk and hike in the nicer months and use a lot of the more active Wii games in the yucky weather. We live on the third floor of an apartment building , so any running, jumping, stomping indoors is out. We have a swimming pool on the complex and when it is open we spend most of our afternoons in the pool swimming and playing. I am one of the few moms who gets in and plays with the kids. I get them to play a lot of swim tag, Marco Polo, diving for diving toys and so forth. I wish our pool was an indoor one so we could use it year round !The key to getting kids active is not to have them do as you say , but do as you do !
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Attack of the Killer Tomatoes =-.

  4. moonduster (Becky) says:

    We do pretty much similar things along the same lines that you do. We keep plenty of fruit readily available for when the kids get hungry between meals. And we try and take them out, when the weather permits, for long walks or short family bike rides.

    By the way, I also have seven kids, but they are five girls and two boys. 🙂
    .-= moonduster (Becky)´s last blog ..Why? =-.

  5. 'Drea says:

    I like it that you do errands instead of sending the kids to do them. One of my friends says that kids are just free labor since her parents used to (and still like to when she visits) wear her out with tasks.

    I also like that you watch what you say about exercise around your kids.

    I think kids are natural exercisers but, lately, they’ve been side-tracked by electronic gadgets and such…
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..One Speed For Now =-.

  6. Rob Dyess says:

    The childhood obesity thing is extra sensitive for me and us… we live in Mississippi and we are the FATTEST STATE IN THE U.S.A.

    We do NOT let our boys play video games at all. We try to limit the TV- its hard and we could do better. Their mom does a great job of just getting them out in the back yard to run with the dogs and generally move around!

    Thanks… enjoy your blog.



  7. Shannon says:

    You are amazing parents and wonderful role models for those children.
    Luck for us we live on a farm so having lazy kids does not happen. To much room and to many options. Right now fishing has started and I can’t keep them away from the lake!
    I realize how fortunate we are when I visit family that lives in neighborhoods. It could be difficult to get kids moving when they have so little places to move.
    It has to be an effort I am sure.
    Mine love doing little races etc with me as well. So much fun!

  8. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    No kids here, but I used to work with little ones in a summer playground program. We created an Olympics program one summer with different games each week: javelin throw with pencils, discus throw with paper plates, etc. For our grand finale we had a whipped cream eating contest for those who completed the program. We just sprayed a glob of whipped cream in a pie tin, put it in front of them, and told them the first one to finish was the winner. The catch was that they couldn’t use their hands. Needless to say, we had a dozen very messy, very happy kids at the end. Fortunately, we’d also arranged for that to be a “sprinkler day”, so they could get hosed down before they went home.

    I’m not sure why I felt it necessary to go into all that, except to maybe make the point that kids are fun to play with. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Re-entering the Work(out)force =-.

  9. Jenn says:

    I just found your blog a few days ago and while exploring it I somehow missed that you homeschool!!! We do too!!!! How exciting!!!

    We do taekwondo as a family to help keep fit. We also try to go on hikes and walk the dogs. I’ve been telling myself lately that I need to walk more around the house though. I have a habit of sending my kids to get things for me that I need. :-/
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Candy. Soda Pop. Fun? =-.

  10. Jenn@slim-shoppin says:

    I think that’s the best example you can give your kids is to make exercise fun and not a chore.

    I was running on the track today at my local high school. There was an overweight boy who was maybe 6 or 7, he was walking around the track by himself. His mom was in the car talking on her cell phone, and after each lap, he asked his mom if he was done, and she would say “that’s not 8 laps yet!” 8 laps is 2 miles. And he walked a few more laps.

    I felt so sorry for that little boy. Why was she in the car, when she could have run around this giant field with a soccer ball with him?

    I want to make it fun for my kids, not a misery!

    Great example Diane!
    .-= Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog ..iChange =-.

    • Diane says:

      That story makes me sad for that little guy. I wonder if the mom felt any pang of guilt at all? I would have – especially if I had been overweight. I would have felt guilty for the fact that I couldn’t even walk that far and here I was making my child do it!

  11. Babbalou says:

    Although I didn’t homeschool my two boys, I did many of the other things you mentioned – limited screen time, provided bikes and scooters, took them on walks or bikerides on the weekends, prepared healthy foods and snacks and didn’t buy junk food. I think modeling healthy habits in terms of eating and exercise is SO important, they do look to us as models for living (although when they’re teenagers it doesn’t always seem that way). My older son lived on his bike and scooter, my younger son loved basketball, and played every day on a neighborhood court with his friends. He also found a Rec league he could play on as well. Other things I did were take them boating (rowing is great fun), canoeing (we live around lakes), hiking in nearby nature parks and swimming. We also had chores so they learned to clean a house, which can be exercise if you’re in a hurry to finish! Gardening can be good exercise as well, though my kids didn’t enjoy it. They did mow the lawn (using a push mower) and raked and bagged leaves, although we paid them for the yard work. Teaching them to cook at least a few healthy dishes that they enjoy is also a good idea – they’re far less likely to eat too many fast food meals once they’re on their own if they know how to cook some basic, simple and healthy meals.

  12. Leah says:

    My kids are much more active than I ever was as a child. (they take after my husband that way) They’ve always enjoyed playing outside and we’ve encouraged them to as much as they like. Now one girl is in ballet, one is in basketball twice a year and our son is in soccer twice a year. Even with organized sports they still prefer playing outside to indoors when they are home.

    We limit game times, do not own a t.v. and I keep treats to a minimum allowance each day. They do get soda on occasions with dinner, but if they are thirsty through the day I encourage water.

    I honestly think it’s the t.v. and video games that has made the biggest difference in the weight issues with our children. Kids just don’t get out and play anymore like they used to.

    Oh, and now that I’m exercising regularly I will also try and make sure I continue to keep my comments positive. 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Jumping In – Day 2 Update =-.

  13. Amy says:

    You see a lot fewer overweight kids here in Belgium than in the US and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that kids walk and bike a lot more. My two older boys have a 20 minute bike ride to school every morning and 20 minutes back in the evening and if they want to go somewhere (swimming pool, library) they also bike.
    .-= Amy´s last blog .. =-.

  14. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    We did many of the same things with our children as they grew up. Now that they are teenagers, we have them ride their bikes to visit friends instead of driving. When they want to get together with friends, we suggest rollerblading, ice skating, sledding and bike riding at the park rather than just hanging out at the mall or going to a movie.
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..New Study Recommends 60 Minutes of Daily Exercise for Women =-.

  15. Barbara says:

    I admire your energy. I wonder how you can do all you do and homeschool 7 children too. Good for you. My kids are grown now and it is all I can do keep myself healthy and fit. It’s great that you set such an example.

    • Diane says:

      I do it one day at a time! That – and I try and stay pretty organized. I hope I’m setting a good example – only time will tell.

  16. Fran says:

    I think you’re doing a great job with your kids staying active.

    Here in Holland it’s getting more and more a problem that children sit too much in front of the tv or computer and don’t play outside anymore.

    In my neighbourhood that’s no such a big problem (yet). We have a children playground in front of our house and kids from neighbours often use it to play on.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..Zandvoort Circuit Run, 5K, 03-28-2010 =-.

  17. Kate says:

    We homeschool as well, and at first I was worried that it might cut out the activity that they get (with no PE) but I just found out that budget cuts have cut the days the kids do PE in our local schools, and we enrolled ours in a homeschool PE program, ballet and tap classes, and a soccer team. That only covers a few hours a week though. My kids seem to eat all of the time though (we do not ever offer them candy, baked goods, sodas, etc) so I was wondering how they stay thin. Then I saw my oldest walking circles around the living room while she read a book for her school work. I almost asked her to sit down so she could concentrate, but stopped. Her comprehension is just fine, and she doesn’t even realize she’s exercising while she does school. Then I understood how they stay slender. They are moving ALL of the time. We do have a Wii, and they will watch t.v. here and there (no more than an hour per day) but I bought only active games for the Wii. I wonder what reading I’d get if I stuck pedometers on them?!

  18. 266 says:

    I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. Knowing that my husband and I want to start a family soon means that kids are right near the front of my thoughts and, with my weight loss having been the focus of much of the past seven and a half months, it is definitely worth thinking about!!! I know that physical activity is such an important part of raising children and now I am confident that I will be able to give that to them when the time comes.
    .-= 266´s last blog ..Routines =-.

  19. Erin says:

    We go for walks and bike rides. We go to the playground and run around together. We kick the soccer ball around, play catch with the football, etc. The typical “no running in the house” rule only applies to the main level of our house. Running or bike/scooter riding in the basement is acceptable and encouraged, especially during our long winters. If I don’t make it to the gym any given day and workout at home, we do pushups and crunches together. His active time will ALWAYS exceed his TV time and he gets 30 minutes a day of cartoons and no more.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Back in Business =-.

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