Note: This article contains affiliate links (hyperlinks, widgets, or through images), which means I receive compensation if you purchase a product through them. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. Visit my disclosure page for more information.
Right now, parents are packing up the trunks of their cars with hockey sticks, ice skates, and bags of protective padding. You would love for your kid to join in on the fun, but the price of the equipment and the huge league membership is high enough to make you faint. A single season of watching your kid skate around a hockey rink could cost you more than a $1000. Crazy, right?
Research from Utah university found that families are spending up to 10% of their income on sports to keep up with membership fees, equipment, travel, and additional costs. You want to encourage your child to be physically active and make friends, but you don’t want to go broke to make that happen.
Making sure your kids get enough exercise doesn’t have to be financially out of reach. If you want to get your kid off the couch and stick to your budget, try these simple ideas:
Sign Up For The Right Programs
As you may have noticed, hockey is one of the most expensive youth sports that your kid could sign up for, especially because you’ll need to buy new equipment every season to keep up with their growth spurts. Other activities that will cost an arm and a leg are football, horseback riding, and skiing.
If you want to enroll your child in a program, choose ones at community centers that require very little equipment or travel time. For instance, swimming lessons are cheap and only require a bathing suit, a towel, and a pair of goggles.
Track is another great choice because it only requires running shoes and shorts. It’s often an extra-curricular offered by schools, so check with your kid’s gym teacher to see if they can sign up when the snow clears.
Turn Exercise Into A Game
Telling young kids to go for a walk around the block to burn off some energy isn’t the best idea. You want them to get excited about being active, not counting down the minutes until it’s over.
When the weather is too frightful for them to run around in the park or ride their bikes, you can organize fun indoor activities to get their hearts racing like obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and jumping jack contests.
Another idea is to turn on some music and have a twenty-minute dance party. Learn how to do fad dances from online tutorials so that everyone can learn the choreography to their favorite music videos.
Younger children might not have the attention span to learn new moves, so give them the opportunity to freestyle their own routines.
Do The Work Outs Together
One of the most effective ways to get kids to exercise is to lead by example — when you are physically active, your children are more likely to follow suit. You can’t warn your kids that being inactive is bad for their health when you spend most of your hours sitting down.
Ask your kids to join you during some of your workouts. High-intensity sports like CrossFit are not appropriate for children, so focus on safe activities like light yoga or Zumba. Doing the workouts together will be an excellent opportunity to bond, and it will prove to them that exercise is a priority for the family.
If you want to find out how to trim costs for your own fitness regimen, read MoneyKey’s guide on saving money with new year’s resolutions. The guide will help you find low-cost alternatives to expensive gym memberships and weight loss programs. You can click here to read more about what mobile apps to download and fitness facilities to visit to stay active while maintaining a tight budget.
The website offers money-saving tips to help people prepare for costs that go outside their normal budget. When you have cash set aside in an emergency or rainy-day fund, you won’t be caught by surprise when your car gets a flat tire or when a crucial bill comes in. People who aren’t prepared for these scenarios may have to apply for a payday loan to deal with these vital payments.
As a parent, you want to give your kid everything they could need, including a good bill of health. Fight the pressure to spend all of your hard-earned cash on memberships, classes, and equipment.
Your child can get just as much exercise and joy out of community sports programs, play-time, and workouts with you.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.