I know this seems pretty self-explanatory, but if you can get your kids to work out with you, it is so worth it! I know what you are thinking, reducing screen time is hard, working out is hard, so why would combining the two make them easier? I speak from a plethora of experience of NOT being motivated to workout, and having been moderately successful at reducing screen time. Like so may parents with younger kids, I managed to gain about (gulp!) 40 pounds in the course of time (I’m 5’10” if you are wondering). Going from 190lbs to 230lbs is a pretty depressing, and all that extra weight makes you tired all the time. I feel like it is a never-ending pit of being tired, unmotivated, eating badly, and a spiral of suckiness. Basically the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.
I actually have managed to lose about 25lbs over the course of 3-months, and have been able maintain my new weight for the past 3-months. I was able to do this mainly through eating differently. I will do a whole post about the importance of cooking at home, as that has been the main key to losing weight and maintaining the weight, in a different post. This is coming from a guy that ate out 7-8x a week(3x for lunch and 4x for dinner).
In my quest to lose the last 15 lbs and get back to respectability, I started mixing in exercise at home. I didn’t really have the time to go to the gym except before work at 6:30am, and I quickly found out I’m just not that type of person. I have failed at waking up more time than I can count, and I quit after a week. With being at home more, I have started to add in workouts during the day, which is nice. Nothing crazy, I’m in the arduous process of creating a habit, but it has been going ok. I started doing pushups, situps, and added jumping jacks as of recently.
The hard thing about working out when the kids are at home
I’m not sure if you’ve ever done one of those home fitness workouts, but, for me at least, it feels sort of weird to do these exercises in front of the kids. They don’t necessarily make fun of me, I just feel like they are laughing inside at Dad. Anyhow, for my own sanity, and in an effort to reduce screen time for them, I have made them do the exercises with me. In the beginning they hated it, in they would rather do chores than exercise in the morning. Then after a couple of times, and adding their input of stretching and jumping jacks, they stared to not hate it as much. In fact they have enjoyed the workouts, and if we don’t do them in the morning, we are often much less productive during the day. I’m not sure what it is about getting the kids moving in the morning, but it definitely has helped. I have hunch that is why their is recess in the mid-morning.
Disclaimer: I’m explaining my routine that works for the kids and me, so please utilize your judgement on what is safe for your kids and you, and do what works for you.
Pros of working out with your kids
They can’t laugh at you if they are busy huffing and puffing doing situps and pushups, and in a weird way, they are your accountability partners. There is something about them moaning about doing their pushups and situps or jumping jacks (I have them substitute jumping jacks if they want because they are more fun), that motivates me to do my own exercises. I also have started allowing them to substitute the workouts they did at school during PE or gymnastics, as that is a lot more fun than my exercises. Anyhow this has reduced screen time by about 20 minutes in the morning, and helped me get back in shape.
The cons of working out with your kids. You have to work out.
Screen Time Reduction Estimate: 15-20 minutes