One of the best parts of this project by far is the exercise / activity time. My kids are unfortunate enough to have 2 parents that work full time jobs. They’re old enough that they can fend for themselves for most things, but we still come home for lunch so that they’re not alone all day long. However, it’s not like I can just let them roam the neighborhood all day either so they spend a good part of the day inside. That’s what led to the idea of exercise time in the evenings.
We have been heading to the local middle school to use their track some evenings. We run laps, walk the small hill that separates the track from the softball diamond, jump in the sand pits, or play basketball. My middle child can run 2 miles already with barely one stop for water! My youngest prefers to sprint, and usually can get 2 laps in before he heads off to the sand. Hubby, our oldest, and I just plod along 🙂 Sometimes we’ve got wings on, other times we’re just putting in the time.
We have a new way to burn off some energy too — the pool! We get a discounted membership through my husband’s job so we pay one price and have free admission all summer long. The park where this pool is located has many activities, in fact, including miniature golf, paddle boats, a driving range, a nature trail and a fitness center (which wasn’t included in our membership but is available in higher levels). Just last night we headed over there, swam for 90 minutes or so, then ate our dinner of sandwiches and watermelon on a picnic table before heading home. It was the perfect summer evening.
And yes, we all slept well last night! That’s the best benefit of all.
Today was the first day the kids were at home all day. My boys were awake before I even finished showering! One said to me “Mom, there are not enough hours in the day, I don’t want to miss a minute of this vacation!” Too cute. But they weren’t all that thrilled when I reminded them that the limited TV and computer time started today. I’m certain that they didn’t even come close to staying at 2 hours like I really want them to, but if they cut down to just 4 hours today by the end of the summer, they might come close to the goal.
What I really want is for them to just get up and move more. Get outside and play! Basketball, frisbee, simply running around! Today the kids did get outside long enough to ride their bikes over to a nearby park — they didn’t stay long for fear of being bored to death, but it was movement.
In order to keep them thinking of something other than electronics, though, I did have to get creative. I bought a bunch of craft type stuff online — build your own boats, decorate your own door hanger, leather crafts, etc. I figure one or two of those a week might relieve the boredom enough that they might put down the game controllers for a little bit!
Food today went pretty well, but for all the kids’ promises that if I put salad and fruit on the table at dinner, they’ll eat it, they didn’t. It took several reminders, and when we were doing dishes, I discovered that they didn’t eat the veggies at lunch either. Sigh. It’s a work in progress!
We did take our measurements today, and did body fat percentage. Tomorrow will be the official “weigh in” and that will give us something to try to improve. 73 days to go…
Today is the last day of school in our district and since summer technically will only last 74 days, I’m making today our starting day. I can’t control what the kids eat at school because it’s Field Day and the schools are having a cookout (meaning hot dogs and chips and cookies most likely) but we’ll get everything else right.
So, for today: 60 ounces of water, evening activity planned, real food for all the meals I can control, and limited computer/TV time. Hoping for minimal complaints!
One thing we are sorely lacking these days is genuine “play” time for our children. Throughout elementary school, my kids have gotten on average, an hour of gym or PE time a week. They do still get recess at that age, which usually consists of whatever time they have left after eating lunch during a 30 minute lunch break. I honestly can’t remember how much recess time we got in primary school but I’m thinking it was longer than 15 minutes. In fact, I remember having time for a full game of kickball!
In middle school, it seems to be even less. For one, there are no “play” things at the schools. No jungle gym, no swings, no kids chasing each other. My daughter tells me that she and her friends just “hang out”. Which basically means they sit and chat. She says that sometimes some kids will get a basketball and there will be a quick game of that, but that’s just a few kids.
We are extremely fortunate (in my opinion anyway! I’m not sure if my kids would agree!) that we live within the walk zone of the middle and high schools. That gives my daughter a 4 block walk or bike ride one way twice a day. My sons do get bused to school but they too have to walk for a bit — 2 1/2 blocks to get to the bus stop. That’s extra activity they don’t even realize they’re getting. When you live in town and don’t have acres of ground for them to roam, you have to take what you can get.
What we are doing to help keep the kids active is to get out every night after dinner for some sort of movement. Lately we’ve been running around the track at one of the schools, but the boys will also play basketball or pretend they’re in track doing the long jump. We have a nice 4 block walk to get there so that serves as our warm-up and cool down. We stretch, do our running or whatever, then walk home and stretch again.
I also have a home gym consisting of some equipment, weights, a punching bag, steps, videos and an exercise ball. The kids have asked if I’d wake them for a workout in the mornings, but I’ve resisted since they’re still in school and don’t need to wake up any earlier than they already do. This summer, and especially when this project starts, might be a different story. They’ll soon be facing days of very limited TV and computer time, so they’ll need to fill those days with something. Hopefully that gym will come in handy. For all of us, perhaps!