SAHM WAHM Tips: Home Fitness with Kids

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How do you workout at home when you can't turn your back on the kids for an instant? Here are five tips and tricks from a SAHM Fitness guru!

The house is quiet. The kids seem occupied. The baby is napping. You have 20 minutes before it's time to make dinner. Will you be able to workout? You pop in a home fitness video and start moving and grooving...

"Mommy! MOMMY! MAAHHH-MMMM-EEEEEE!!!!" And your workout is over as quickly as it began. The Pilates DVD keeps playing for an empty living room while you rush off to take care of your precious blessings. Why is it so hard to fit in fitness from home?

Anyone without children of their own would assume that stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) or work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) or dads should have more time on their hands, not less. But the reality is that it's harder to carve out time for yourself at home when you are ALWAYS at home! So here are some suggestions from a SAHM who has been in the home fitness trenches for quite a while.

First, Be Firm - Even your infant needs to respect and recognize that a certain time of day is for Mama or Dada. Contrary to some popular parenting styles, it is NOT healthy for your child to constantly be the center of your attention. They need to see you taking time to care for yourself. Say something like, "Okay, the next half-hour is for Daddy/Mommy to get some exercise. When I am done, we are going to do something special. If you interrupt me, it will take longer before our special time can begin." 

Second, Save the Space - It's not safe for children to be around swinging arms. Keep yourself and them safe by doing your workouts in a clear area and letting them know the boundary zone. Babies can be placed in a bouncy seat or exersaucer where you can make silly faces at each other. If you tend to over-exersaucer your baby, try to save "bucket time" for moments like this when you can't give wee-ones your complete attention. Older children might enjoy a real boundary made with yarn or string. Make it a game: "If you cross the line, you have to freeze in that position until Mommy is done working out. If you stay outside the line you may have a healthy treat when I'm done."

Third, Put Their Thirsts First - Make sure each of your children's basic needs are met (i.e. food, water, clothing, diapers) before you switch to "on-call mode." You are never off-duty as a parent, but you can be on-call, and this works best right after a time of day that has just met a bunch of their needs. "Alright, everyone. We just ate lunch. Does anyone need a drink? Now, I want you all to go potty, and then Daddy is going to workout while you guys go play in your room for a while." It's healthy for children to learn to play alone. Don't feel like you need to break up every fight. "Work it out yourselves. Use your words. I'll help you when I'm done!" Make that your mantra.

Fourth, Fit Them In - Children need to see their parents exercising, but they also need to feel welcome to participate on occasion! It's not good for you to do the same workout everyday anyway, so why not offer them the following deal: "I really want to do my yoga video by myself today. How about if you let me do that, then I will play the Wii with you later tonight or tomorrow morning." The great part about this promise you just made is that your kid will hold you to it. Youngsters make great personal trainers! If babies refuse to be put down, keep them in a carrier such as an Ergo, modifying your workout to include their weight.

Finally Five: Play and Walk Away - Don't assume your children will read between the lines when you start exercising. You have to tell them what's going on. Get them started on something of their own, joining them in a board game or drawing a picture with them or setting up a movie and watching while you snuggle for a moment or two. It's not healthy for children to watch a ton of television, but a half-hour here and there so you can get important things taken care - and fitness is important - is a good thing! If you're not comfortable with using the television, or you only have one, then get them going on a project. You have to think ahead. Once you successfully draw their attention away from your activity, then you can enjoy your activity in peace.

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Bethany Learn

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