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There are benefits to exercising at every age. Moms need physical activity to stay alert, reduce stress, and promote total-body wellness. Toddlers can use it to burn off excess energy and strengthen their little muscles.
One of the best ways to save time and bond with your child is to exercise with them. The following activities are fun and effective workouts for both parents and their children. Try one of them at home in the evening or on the weekend. No matter which exercise you choose, you are bound to have fun. As a bonus, you will be teaching your toddler valuable wellness skills for a lifetime.
How to Get Ready for Exercise
Before you start exercising, you need a few supplies. Make sure you and your little one have water close by. Reusable water bottles will help you both stay hydrated. Athletic clothes are also important. Whether you and your child wear shorts or pants, make sure they are made of comfortable, moisture-wicking material. Clothing that gets wet or rubs together can lead to chafed skin.
Choose a time when your little one is rested and fed. Some parents like to schedule the activity an hour or two after lunch or the afternoon nap. You may also decide to do it a little while after breakfast. When your toddler is in the best mood possible, they are more likely to be interested in the exercise. They are also less likely to suffer a tantrum.
Finally, choose a safe setting where there is plenty of space to move. This could be inside your home or in the yard. The area should be free of clutter and large objects, such as tables or chairs.
It should also be in a place where you can exercise away from pets or other family members. This will allow you and your child to focus and have fun.
Stretches and Yoga Poses
Stretches and yoga poses are both fun and easy for toddlers. They will get excited about mastering the routines and techniques, while you heal your body and de-stress at the same time.
Get started by choosing a few poses that are easy to learn. The downward-facing dog is often a great place to start since many toddlers already know how to do it. Complete the pose and then encourage your child to do the same. If they are feeling especially energetic, they can run or crawl under you instead.
Other popular yoga poses for kids include child’s pose, cat pose, and cobra pose. They may also like to try cow pose, happy baby pose, and mountain pose.
If you are looking for a simple stretch, show your little one how to sit on the floor and reach for their toes. Other stretches for toddlers that also help mom include the overhead arm stretch, butterfly stretch, and arms wide stretch.
Watch your child’s poses to be sure they do not overextend their bodies. If you need to warm up before stretching, a short walk around the house or neighborhood can help.
Fun and Fast Workouts
While your trainer may refer to it as a cardio exercise, you and your toddler can call it a “fast workout.” These activities are anything that gets the heart pumping and the body moving. Some of the most popular ideas include skipping around the driveway and racing to each end of the backyard. You can also try alternating between skipping and hopping so your toddler learns the difference. One of the most fun variations of this activity is showing your child the difference between running fast and jogging slow.
If you are a family who likes to work out without noticing it, have a dance party. Put on an energetic, kid-friendly playlist and express yourself. You can also set the mood by plugging in a color-changing lamp or disco ball. Costumes and colorful toddler outfits adorned with accessories like sunglasses or feather boas will captivate the imagination.
Other possibilities include jumping on a trampoline, swimming in the pool, or doing jumping jacks. For moms who are running enthusiasts, your toddler may like it if you jog with them in a wagon, tricycle, or stroller.
Muscle Strengthening Activities
Push-ups are an effective bodyweight exercise for adults, but toddlers also find them easy to master. Show your child how to do a push-up on either your knees or toes. Do a few of them so they can model the up and down movement. It may also be fun to do them to a cadence, such as a nursery rhyme song.
If you are interested in doing crunches, let your little one stand at your knees or sit on your belly. Every time you come up to do a crunch, you can playfully grab or tickle your child. While they find the activity silly and exciting, you will get in your daily dose of ab exercises.
Other ideas include planks, legs-up sit-ups, and doing crab walks. Do a crab walk race in your living room or backyard. While you laugh and bond, you will also get a full-body workout.
Making Exercise Fun and Rewarding
Parents of small children need to be creative with their time. You can make the most of your day and meet your fitness goals by exercising with your toddler. After all, kids need physical activity, too.
Along with a healthy body, you may find that your child sleeps longer or takes better naps. At a minimum, you and your little one will benefit from the time together. These moments will instill the importance of wellness in your child while making memories that will last a lifetime.
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.