I’m currently living in a city that, like many others, is under a shelter in place order. For my family that means my son is not going to school, I am not working out at my CrossFit box, and we are trying our best to avoid becoming incredibly stir crazy. We’ve certainly had to get creative about our schedule, workouts, and family structure. I want to share some of the ways that we’ve been able to keep our kid active in quarantine, and I’d love to hear what you’re doing in your homes.
In an ideal world, we’d spend most of our time outside. My kid has no shortage of energy, and I tend to be a more free-range parent (out of laziness, not principle). So I really like parks. Kid gets to run, I get to read or stretch, very little effort is exerted on my end, and we all have a great time. Unfortunately, parks aren’t really a solid option for our area right now, and I still have to work, so we can’t spend all day outside.
When I’m not on a conference call, and can deal with a little more noise than usual, I’ve found that there are some really great YouTube channels to help my kid move from the comfort and safety of our living room. I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Staying Sane & Healthy While Social Distancing, that I’ve loved Kosmic Kids Yoga. The channel has both yoga and meditation videos available for a wide range of ages. Not only will it help get your kid moving, it can also be a great way for children who are experiencing stress to tune into their body and experience calm.
I’ve also stumbled upon the 20 Online channel, which offers true workout videos for both adults and children. This channel is especially great for older kids who may not be interested in cartoon-type themes, but also has options for kids as young as 4. They even have a few videos that I’ve checked out for myself!
Finally, The Body Coach TV has really stepped up to offer virtual PE classes on the channel that has historically been focused more on adult at home workouts. Once again, this is a channel that has something to offer me, as an adult, as well as my kid. So if you’re looking for an online resource for yourself, definitely check it out.
Getting Outside Daily – At Least Once
We’ve found that we have had to make a more mindful effort to ensure we are prioritizing getting him outside at least once a day. On days where we haven’t been able to make this happen, I can definitely say neither of us were happy campers by 3pm. They don’t sell enough wine to help a mom whose been trying to work at home all day with an active kid who hasn’t stepped outside. And with panic buying being a thing lately, I’m not willing to take any chances.
So when we just need a quick “outside hit,” we’ve turn to taking him out for short (30min) hikes at the nature preserve that is right behind us. Just a little time in the woods has been amazing for all of us. We also take him out to ride his bike, just in the neighborhood if we’re short on time. Finally, I’ve seen so many families taking advantage of the opportunity to spend more time playing unorganized sports in the front yard. And it makes my day. We may be sheltering in place, but we don’t have to be sheltering inside!
Bike Rides During My Runs
When the weather isn’t COMPLETE garbage, we have been capitalizing on any and every opportunity to get outside (can you sense a theme here?). In all honesty, I think this quarantine has shown us that we were such weenies about avoiding weather with our son previously. 60 and drizzly? Need to stay inside, out of the elements. L. O. L. Now, if there’s anything other than pouring or freezing rain, we’re heading out! Thankfully, our current city regulations still allow for outdoor exercise (with social distancing precautions), and we aren’t passing it up.
One of the ways that I’ve been able to get him moving consistently is to take him with me on my runs, and to let him ride his bike in front of me. I used to do this about once a week, but lately I’ve been scheduling my runs more in the afternoon than early morning, specifically so that I can take him. It gets him moving for about an hour, and while it’s not ideal for my personal schedule, we’re making it work. Moms live a life of sacrifice, ya’ll.
I previously wrote a post with tips on running with a kiddo who is on a bike. If you’re new to having some younger company on your runs, please check it out.
Get Him Moving While I Workout
Something that has been absolutely key for my family is to find ways for our son to be active when I’m active. Most days, I workout two times (a run and CrossFit), and my kid would prefer to be moving literally all day. So getting him active at least twice a day, with me, just makes good sense. Here’s a few ways we’ve accomplished this.
I already mentioned that I take him out on his bike for my runs, but I also take him with me when I workout outside. For the majority of the time that we have been doing the social distancing thing, I’ve prioritized making sure my workouts can happen outside. Lately, we’ve been heading over to an elementary school parking lot (because it’s obviously empty), where he can ride his skateboard around a large space while I workout.
What he’s doing in terms of activity hasn’t been super important to me; just that he gets moving. So if your kid isn’t into skateboarding, simple things like hopscotch, roller skating, bike riding, or just running around like a maniac (my kid particularly loves this last option) will work just fine.
It takes some extra effort, for sure. I have to make sure whatever equipment I’m using (bands, yoga mat, dumbbells, kettlebell, jump-rope, etc) are in the car before we head out. Then I have to unload everything, and reload when we’re done. It’s kind of a pain, but in a time where my kid can’t play basketball with his friends, or go wild at a park, we’ve gotta suck it up. He gets an hour of running around, and I get my workout in.
It’s also meant that I have to be mindful about when I schedule my workouts. If I plan to workout at noon, but I don’t figure out lunch ahead of time, things are going to hit the fan. And I’m overwhelmed enough; I can’t add cleaning proverbial poo to the list. If I want to take him on my run, I need to adjust my day so that my run happens in the afternoon rather morning. It’s more work than usual, it’s more planning than usual, but there’s more of my sanity at stake than usual.
Making sure our kid stays active during this whole coronavirus crisis has not been the easiest thing in the world. But it sure hasn’t been the hardest, either. It’s keeping us all just a little bit happier, and helping us maintain some semblance of normal life. If you’ve found some creative ways to help your kiddo burn some energy while sheltering in place or social distancing, I’d love to hear about it (because I need all of the options, ya’ll)!
If you’re looking for additional resources for staying healthy and happy during this strange time, Whitney at themotherrunners.com has recently put up two great blog posts with lots of tips and ideas. Check out 35 Tips to Stay Sane During the Coronavirus Crisis and Stroller Running Tips in a COVID-19 World.