Keeping kids active during their extended time out of school doesn't need to be a daunting task. Without access to recess, team sports or play dates, you can focus on keeping your child’s mind and body healthy by encouraging some at-home exercise and free playtime. Try incorporating some of these screen-free ideas into your family’s new routine:
Don’t stay stuck.
Go for a walk (or bike ride, or skateboard, or skip) around the block, or even just around the yard.
Take frequent breaks.
Each hour, take a break from the phone or computer and get up and do something for three to five minutes. Stretch, do push-ups, squats, yoga, or even just tidy up the living room or take the dog outside.
Use technology to move.
While this idea does involve a screen, you can challenge yourself to stay active instead of scrolling through social media. Check out some of the free online and streaming exercise options. Many fitness centers that aren’t open are live-streaming classes or offering access to workouts and yoga programs, and lots of online fitness programs are offering their family-friendly workouts for free.
Have a dance party.
Have each member of your family choose a song and then everyone dances to it.
Workout during a commercial break.
If you have to check in on TV news, press pause or turn off the TV and fit in some fitness during the breaks. Alternate 20 seconds of planking with 15 seconds of jumping jacks for the duration of the commercial break. At the next break, alternate five push-ups with five squats.
Tidy up your space.
Vacuum, scrub the bathroom, dust, garden…all of these household chores get your body moving.
Mallory Carteaux is an exercise physiologist with Fit4Allkids, a healthy lifestyle program of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.