by: Cory Warren
Summer is over and a new school year is here! Maybe you took a trip to the beach, saw some movies in the theatre, or had a picnic together as a family. With school out, you and your busy family had the freedom to have some extra fun in the summer and perhaps you had a chance to be a bit more active. Now that your little elementary students’ classes are back in session, you and your children’s activity level might take a steep dive, as reality sets in and nightly homework assignments come home.
Physical education classes and outdoor recesses are at an all-time low in many schools, so it is up to us as parents to take responsibility for our children’s physical activity. After a sedentary eight hour day behind the desk at work for you, and a long day of focused learning for your little ones, the last thing you want to do is sit down and do homework…I feel your pain! Here are a few tips you can use before, during, and after your nightly homework assignments with your kids to keep that physical activity going and give you and your children’s bodies active breaks to help them feel their best!
Before You Hit The Books
Consider some silly stretching. Start by standing up and facing your child. Tell them that you are going to do an easy warm-up with them and to follow exactly what you do. Start at the top of your body and work your way all the way down to your feet. Begin with moving your eyes around, then your nose, then your mouth and then slowly moving your neck around. Wiggle your shoulders and circle your arms and then your waist and move down to your knees and feet. This exercise can give your kids a chance to get the sillies out, but can also be a great bonding experience for you and your little Einstein.
After concentrating and problem solving for a solid 15 to 20 minutes, it’s great to take a break with your little ones. To get your blood flowing, stand up and do at least 20 jumping jacks. Instead of simply jumping in silence, tell your child that you are going to do jumping jacks to the beat of their favorite song. Let them know it will only be one song and then after it’s over, you will get back to work. Play the song on your radio or cell phone and have a blast!
The After Party
There is no better feeling than finishing a nightly homework assignment. Ask your kiddo to pack up their backpack for the next day and make sure to slide the homework into the right folder. After that’s done, do something to celebrate. Have a friendly pillow fight, build a sturdy fort out of blankets and couch pillows, or just relax by spending time together.
There are tons of great reasons to be active with your kids, especially during homework time. For me, I want my kids to see me as a positive role model and a fit dad who can take care of his family. A few muscles here and there are definitely not a bad thing, but being able to be active with your kids is a gift. Staying active helps your kids see the value in physical fitness and can set them up for a solid foundation for the rest of their lives!
What’s your favorite way to break up homework marathons with your kids?
Cory Warren is a husband, father of three, and vegan athlete. His blog, Lean Green DAD, is a lifestyle blog about food, family and fun that helps passionate people, mostly parents, who have over-scheduled, busy lives maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness and overall wellness. Visit him online at leangreendad.com and follow him as “leangreendad” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram.