Did you know that current exercise guidelines for children recommend one hour of exercise a day? I don't know about you, but as a parent--a parent who makes fitness a priority--this stresses me out just a little. Honestly, my first thought is: Fitting in my own daily exercise is a challenge and now I'm supposed to worry about them, too?
If this were summer, I wouldn't be stressed about this at all. My children easily get an hour of daily exercise and surely more. But in the winter, in Minnesota, it can be more challenging.
Today, my goal was to ensure my children got their hour.
At preschool today, with temperatures in the upper 20s and abundant sunshine, surely they'd go out, right? Wrong. I'm disappointed that the preschool I otherwise love doesn't place a premium on outdoor playtime. But that is a blog for a different day.
Next we were off to the gym so at least mom could cross exercise off her own list. The childcare center has a great maze of slides and tunnels. A few laps around that thing and they were sure to get their hearts pumping. "Make sure you play in the slides," I said as I kissed them good-bye. When I returned two hours later they were sitting about three feet away from the big screen television watching Dora. "Did you play in the slides?" I asked, hopeful. Sadly, they didn't. For whatever reason, the slides weren't open.
So the hour of exercise fell back on me. Ultimately, like everything you want for your child, it always does. We have to be vigilant. Healthy food, good manners, adequate sleep, education, exercise, you name it. Whatever it is you value for your child, you've got to ensure they live those values.
So, after arriving home from the gym we pulled on our snow suits and went outside to continue construction on the snow fort in our front yard. We've had enough of snowmen this winter. We've definitely moved on to bigger things. The fort includes chairs, a slide down the front, now a path around the perimeter and, according to the girls a "potty." (To be clear, I never saw anyone drop their snowsuit.) More importantly we spent well over an hour outside engaged in physical activity. And you know what? It wasn't stressful at all.
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