EXPERT Q&A

How can I ensure my child gets enough physical activity during the pandemic?

Ensuring children get enough physical activity has been a challenge for parents during the pandemic. Martha Tyler provides great suggestions to help keep your little one active!

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Question

I am concerned that my child isn’t getting enough physical activity during the pandemic. Remote learning has kept him at his desk much of the day and team sports have been canceled due to health risks. What can I do to ensure he gets enough physical activity to stay healthy and build healthy habits?

Answer

Ensuring your child is physically active during the pandemic can be tough. Due to the pandemic, it is recommended that children be outside when socializing with others outside their household. Yet doing so on extremely cold or rainy days, or even in the sweltering heat, is nearly impossible. Luckily, I have some ideas to help!

Go Outside, Even in the Cold

We often look outside or at our weather apps and think, “Ugh, it’s too cold (or rainy, or hot) outside!” I’m encouraging you to challenge that thinking. We can teach our children that the outdoors can be fun, even when the weather isn’t ideal.

When we talk to children about going outside, use language like, “Since it’s rainy, we will need to wear our rain boots and raincoats!” or “It’s cold outside today! We will need to wear our thicker gloves to enjoy all this snow!” Almost any weather can be fun if you’re appropriately dressed for it.

Also, even 30 minutes outside can make a difference in everyone’s mental health. You don’t have to be outside for very long to reap the benefits. If you can find a field or open space for your child to explore, that’s wonderful! But even a walk around the block and splashing in some puddles can help get some wiggles out. 

Dancing and Silly Walks

Dancing can be one of the best ways to stay active indoors. Since children’s bodies are smaller, they don’t need a whole lot of room to dance it out. Here’s a playlist of songs that get kids (and adults) moving! Of course, it really helps if you move with your kids too and that way you get the benefits of some active time too! However, once you’ve danced a few times with your kids or if you do a few songs, they will often have the interest to keep going while you tend to something else. Some of the songs tell you exactly what to do with your body, and some are more abstract, but the beat makes you want to move. Or, like in the case of Raining Tacos, you can pretend to be catching all the tacos! Use this playlist or create one that’s special for your family! Asking kids to help make a playlist also gives them ownership over it, and they will more likely want to play it and dance!

Silly walks are also an excellent way to both use our imaginations and move our bodies! This works really well on a hallway, or you could go around in a circle in a living room or around a dining table. Pretend to be different animals by asking, “How would a penguin walk? How would an elephant walk? How would a kangaroo walk?” You can also imagine that drinking a special potion makes you walk in different ways. Have a cup of water nearby, and say “This potion makes us act like we’re walking through mud!” or “Now the potion makes us walk like we’re on the moon!” 

Put Your Kids to Work

You can also recruit your kids to help with household chores that take a lot of time and energy. For example, do your leaves need raking? Does snow need to be shoveled? Do you want all your baseboards to be wiped down? Again, a child will LOVE doing these tasks if they get to spend some time with you while they do them! Make it seem fun, and they can help cross something off your to-do list while also getting exercise and bonding with you! It’s a win-win-win!

Meet The Expert


Martha Tyler

Martha has her Masters in Education and is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She has worked as a sitter, nanny, tutor, or teaching artist over the past 20+ years. In addition, Martha has hosted a child care podcast, Chronicles of Nannya, for several years. She is also the co-founder of Compassionate Childcare LLC and is thrilled to be able to share her experience, knowledge, and resources with CareNectar!