How to Exercise When Your Kids Are With You

Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.

Or get up at 6am every day because, “Hey mama, it’s light outside! Can I have breakfast now? What are we doing today?” We’re two weeks into summer vacation here, and so far it’s going well, even with the early mornings. We’re hanging out with friends, working on our sight words, reading new books, swimming, and I’m even getting to the gym. With the kids! Some workouts are better than others, but you know I’m all about making it work, no matter what. Even twenty minutes is better than sitting on the couch. Or by the pool, if you’re the Fresh Prince.

Parents, I’m going to tell you my tricks for working out with your kids in tow. Usually, I’m at the gym, but these work for a jogging stroller too. (It’s just crazy hot unless I go at 6am. Maybe that’s why my youngest girl wakes me up…)

Taking my little alarm clock on an early morning run

Taking my little alarm clock on an early morning run.

1. Bring a bag of toys. Now, my gym has a playroom that works great for my 3 and 5 year olds. However, if I’m on the treadmill, I can’t see the room or hear them, because of the gym layout. I’m not too comfortable with that, so when I run, they sit next to me. That’s where the bag of toys comes in handy. We have a bag packed at all times for doctor’s waiting rooms, restaurants, church, etc., and it has saved me many times!

I rotate the contents, but it’s usually coloring pages and crayons, stickers, a card game (my girls LOVE the Eeboo Go Fish cards) and magnetic paper dolls. I usually bring the ipad too, just in case they get tired of coloring (that always happens when I have ten minutes left to go, you know?)

Little dude gets his own toy bag, and I give him one toy at a time. He’s only 6 months old, so he needs a new toy every five minutes to stay happy. Ten if I give him the package of wipes, which he LOVES. (The simplest, non-toys are always the most entertaining, aren’t they?) I bring a lot of toys for him and just keep trading while he sits in his stroller. If all else fails and I’m almost finished, we play peek-a-boo. I think of it as an extra cardio blast.

Sometimes they even sit next to me when I do the elliptical. We're all very attached.

Sometimes they even sit next to me when I do the elliptical. We’re all very attached.

2. Bring snacks. This may seem obvious, but I’m telling you anyway, because I always need more snacks than I bring. Snacks are super important.

3. Make it a playdate! I like to invite a friend and their kid(s) to meet us at the gym because it’s a win-win for everyone. I’m more likely to go in the first place, because I’m meeting someone there (and hello, adult conversation), and my kids are happy because they get to play with someone else. And hopefully, that kid’s toys too.

4. Let your kids be a part of things.
When I lift weights at home, I ask the kids to count my reps. When I stretch, they stretch with me. They love yoga, so we do that together. It helps to keep them entertained, and they see that being active is important.

Post-run stretch with my girl.

Post-run stretch with my girl.

5. Be flexible and realistic. I know my kids won’t want to stay more than 30-40 minutes, so I don’t push it. With the baby, sometimes he’s done after twenty. I don’t get mad; I just try to do something during naptime or make it up another day.

Starting him early (or mama has one set left).

Starting him early (or mama has one set left).

Parents, do you ever bring your kids to the gym? What’s your favorite quiet, stay-busy toy?

Everyone, what’s your favorite way to relax and unwind during the summer?  Mine is definitely reading a book by the pool or at the beach. Bliss.

2 thoughts on “How to Exercise When Your Kids Are With You

  1. I have a yoga video that the kids will do with me. I’ve also tried to get them to do the Leslie Sansone walking videos. They get bored after about 5 minutes

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