I have been working out at home since I had children, and it hasn’t always been easy… nor is it always a breeze even at this point! We have been through many stages of toddlerhood with varying personalities to add to the mix. I have had to rearrange my workout areas to make it easier to get my workouts in and still allow my kids to be around me… otherwise it means I have to get up before the rest of the world in order to get my workout done…. which I still do sometimes when I need that ‘ME’ time, but typically, working out is just another activity I get done during the day like cooking and cleaning. Still hard things to do with littles, but here are some things that have worked for US! And it took TIME to get in the habit of these things just like anything else! Kids test boundaries, they test wits, and they have to get into a groove just like I do!!
1) Getting Them Their Own 1 lb Dumbbells and Yoga Mat.
My kids are just smaller versions of me (and their dad/my hubby), and they LOVE independence. When they were really small, they HAD to be wherever I was, so the toy room was always off or a part of the living room, That is where my workouts also happened. I got my oldest her own set of weights so she could participate, and she was by her toys so she could move on to bigger and better things when she was bored. Also giving them their own yoga mat to workout on made it so that they weren’t crowding on my space! It still happens from time to time, but, hey, it just makes it a more advanced workout for me!
2) This Is Their Play Doh Time
If you have hard floors or a towel and a station you can set up some kinetic activities, this is the PERFECT thing for almost school aged children! Mine are all really close in age, but when my two younger ones were taking naps, I would reserve that time for activities that only my two older ones could do while the younger two were napping. I imagine not many moms are in my particular shoes, so they aren’t juggling 4 kids under the age of 6 (now it is 5 kids under 8, I’ve been doing this a while), but this worked for us! We didn’t just to Play Doh either, it was just a craft time with age appropriate crafts and/or coloring activities.
3) This is their QUIET Time
If I reserve a slot of time during my kids’ quiet/nap time, AND they have been playing pretty well all day. I DO let them watch shows from time to time. That means I have to be OK with the fact that I can’t use that TV time another time during the day (only because we seriously limit it due to attitude issues and extra sass that comes with lots of TV time in our house). We also established that during quiet time, if you come interrupt me too many times, it is off to bed for you! Phrases like, ‘well, the fact that you keep coming to me for help with everything tells me you are too tired to do it yourself, so you need a nap,’ has helped a TON! We also remind them that if they are being too noisy, they are ‘too tired’ to remember it is quiet time so they will have to lay down if they stay loud. Quiet time is a DAILY activity in our house! 12:30-2:30/3 seems like a long time, but they need it just as much as I do, and the dinner time crankiness is hardly ever an issue if they do this!
4) This Is The Time They Learn Independence
I don’t always have my kids doing some structured activity. The rule while mommy works out is either, you figure out how to do it yourself, or you have to wait until mommy has a long enough break or is done with her workout before she can help you. Because the toys are close enough to where I workout, my kids will often play together while I workout, BUT it almost ALWAYS comes with interruptions if it is during their more active periods of the day. If they are fed, rested, and have their basic needs met, they can either workout with me or play with their toys. Too many interruptions or too much whining means lost TV or other privileges they may have earned. It took time for them to get it, and I have also learned a balance with this as well, like keeping the workout to 30 minutes, but my consistency in exercising almost daily has paid off! They are used to it being a part of my day, they are more patient in figuring out how to do things they feel like they ‘can’t’ do, and we are all better off for it!
5) Play OUTSIDE
If your young children are a little older, and you have a decent back yard, send them OUT! Kids need to run and play! You can even find PLENTY of workouts you can do outside as well as inside! Yoga Mats are washable, and pushups are much nicer on grass than hard floors or concrete. We LOVE to spend time outside, and if I know my workout routine pretty well, it is much more rejuvenating to workout outside.
Get creative, make it fun, have the kids try to army crawl under you while you hold a plank, have them run under your legs when you do your straddle stretch but they lose points if they touch your legs. Kids can do basic moves very easily and love to be involved. So if you don’t have any other time that works, and you want to get a good sweat going, make them a part of it, it will get them ready for school, and it will help them burn off some energy! Kids need to be ACTIVE for at LEAST 15 minutes of EVERY hour they are awake! Not just standing, but PLAYING! So kill two birds with one stone, and at first it will seem super stressful, but over the course of a few weeks you will notice that everyone is falling into a groove and you will figure out what works best for you and your kids!
If you follow a workout routine off the internet or a DVD, play it quietly and turn on some dance music so your kids can feel the beat and dance around with you.
Keep in mind that it is OK to encourage your children to occupy themselves for a few minutes every day. Even if you work outside the home, having unstructured time to fill their time while you are all home as a family is GOOD! Even in most day care situations, they do follow more order and structure than if they were just home with you.
These are things that have helped us a TON! Also, ANY workout is better than NO workout, so if it is a matter of being interrupted and getting part of a workout done vs no workout, which would you choose? Not everyone has the luxury of a gym membership with childcare, and not everyone can make it to the gym regularly enough to get amazing results! These are just a few ways you can still accomplish your workouts at home even with kids running around!
It takes time, it takes effort, but with CONSISTENCY it PAYS OFF! Good luck! If you need more tips and ideas, please contact me! I have been doing this for the past 6 years and have had 4 almost 5 kids. IF there is ONE thing I know, it is how to workout with littles on the move!
*For more tips and ideas, or to message me or follow me on FB go here: www.fb.com/healthynfitforlife
** To participate in my upcoming Fitness, Nutrition and Self-Esteem Support group, apply here: http://tinyurl.com/plrfgp9