COVID-19 has taken our kids out of school, halted sports and shut down parks. Working parents and caregivers have been challenged to juggle this new life as homeschoolers as well as coaches.
I live in Chicago with two boys – 6 and 2. If you live here, you understand that Chicago weather is inconsistent – 72 degrees one day and 52 degrees the next. Sunshine, then rain for two days straight. Needless to say, getting my boys outside can be challenging. My wife and I both work, so I know all too well how overwhelming this time can be for all of us. As a Fitness Specialist and Youth Exercise Specialist with Athletico Physical Therapy, I’ve used this time to find new and creative ways to keep my boys moving. Here are some tips to keep your kids active and healthy during the pandemic.
Create a fitness schedule that allows for some flexibility. Kids, like adults, like to know what to expect in their day. They’re used to the routine of going to school, talking with friends, learning from teachers and attending their respective classes. When the pandemic hit, that all came to a halt. Daily schedules were disrupted and everyone’s routines ended. Setting up a daily schedule can allot time where it is needed, and give everyone their sense of routine back. In fact, family routines can contribute to both social and emotional advancement in children.
At a minimum, kids need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. Here are some of the major benefits of physical activity for children:
Keep in mind, when it comes to youth fitness not all age groups will be doing the same exercises. Here’s a breakdown of the types of exercises by age.
To keep your kids moving, here are a few fun activities to try at home!
Secure different colored paper to the ground. Make a game board spinner with all your colors. Designate each color a different exercise. Get a pair of dice as this will determine the amount of reps. Next, use the spinner to determine the color/exercise. The next time you spin, add a hop to the next color/exercise. If you do not have dice, you can use a deck of cards. Face cards are 12 reps and Aces are wild where you can draw again and add 2 reps.
Assign each chair an exercise (i.e. squats, pushups, lunges, single leg hops, jumping jacks) and pick the number of times or reps you will do that exercise. Pick the number of reps everyone feels comfortable with as these will be the reps for every exercise. Play the music and have your kids run or hop around the perimeter of the chairs. Once the music stops, whichever exercise you land on is the one to do. Keep repeating until everyone has done each exercise 3-4 times.
I hope this has been helpful in not only finding creative ways to keep your kids moving this summer but also determining what exercises are beneficial for children at different age groups.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.