There is nothing more exciting than school breaks when you have little kids (or if you are a teacher). Especially when the break happens to fall during a time when you can take off of work! But fitting your workout/training in is a hard deal when you have kids home and they don’t have a set schedule. I have found that it is so much easier for me to have workouts without obsessively scheduling it, which leaves me time for some spontaneous fun. I’ve been juggling with this on and off for 4 years, and would like to share some tips on how to workout with kids.
1. Schedule your workouts
Remember when kids were young and how they thrived on schedules (Mine did! Especially with the sleep time wars!). For all the spontaneity of no school, I find that my kids still like a loosely structured schedule. So I scheduled my workouts. The one constant I had was my CrossFit classes. So 9:30-10:30am was CF. Breakfast and then we all headed down to CF.
2. Involve the kids
Kids love doing what their parents do. This might be more age specific, but older kids also pick up on parents’ behavior even if they pretend not to. Mine love joining me in whatever I try, so off to CrossFit we went and they would join me in the warmup portions. (This is totally up to your gym and is a huge liability. My CF classes had only a few people coming in during the break and they had a room where my kids could lounge around and read or play on their handhelds. My YMCA does not allow kids in the adult classes although I can drop the kids off for upto 2hours/day while I workout.)
We also went running everyday at our favorite place. My 5yo loves running up and down the trails, while my 8yo prefers the flat surrounded by a lot of people. And we did both. About 2-3 miles everyday. Easily added up to my weekly mileage.
We had a couple of days when the kids had their friends over. And once they were done playing, we all went to the trails. The visiting kids and their parents loved it too!
3. Use the Mornings
On the rare time you get a break from early morning routine, it is so tempting to sleep in and leave everything else for later. But unless it is super cold in the mornings, using the mornings to go out will leave you with afternoons AND evenings to relax, nap, catch a movie or go out for ice cream!
We didn’t get up at the crack of dawn either, but didn’t leave everything till after 10:00am either. With a late(isn) breakfast at 9am, we were almost always done with my CrossFit and run by noon, in time for a late lunch with snacks thrown in midway. Really, don’t forget the snacks! And again, to the point of kids liking schedules, they knew what they were doing in the morning and planned their afternoons instead.
4. Don’t Dismiss Kids Activities
Taking the kids out to parks and children’s museum wins you major brownie points with them. But did you ever stop to see how much walking you have done that day?!
We went to Georgia Aquarium and for fun, I took my Garmin along (I got the idea from people wearing their FitBits everywhere). In the 4.5 hours we spent at the Aquarium, we covered close to 1.5 miles !! That’s how much back and forth walking between exhibits we did in an indoor space. I can only imagine how much more it would be at outdoor places.
A simple picnic at the park gave me plenty of “interval training” playing tag or soccer with my kids. So did teaching my 8yo to ride a bike. Whew! I’ll be glad when they can ride alongside me while I run.
5. Have Fun
The point of having a week long break with kids is to have fun. Sitting on the couch all day is no fun, but then dragging them around to mom’s activities all day is no fun either. A day or few days off is not going to derail everything. These days with the kids come by only once and you won’t get them back. Find that balance between spending time with your kids and doing whatever workout or running to maintain your sanity and training.
The joy of hearing them squeal while swinging to the heights on the swing is something that every parent treasures and it is up to us to build more of those treasuring memories while keeping a hand on our personal identity as well.
What tips do you have when you are home on a break with your kids? What is the most surprising workout you have had with the kids around?