Parents can sometimes fall into the trap of wanting to do everything for their kids, and by doing everything, we mean planning their schedule down to the exact minute. We risk becoming micro managers of our children’s activities, which is a mentally exhausting task. It can be tricky to reconcile “taking care of yourself” with “children” but there is a way. You can integrate them into your exercise routine, especially during winter, a season that requires some planning and motivation!
Often, when everything seems like a daunting task, there is an external factor at play that impacts my home life. It can be a relative, a colleague, my budget, accumulated fatigue, traffic, or even all of the above! I love my kids but sometimes, I can get impatient because I don’t have the energy to manage everything. We know that kids are sponges, so they can feel that I’m at the end of my rope. Things can quickly escalate from there. The trick is to get out of the house. Kids need to move to work off their excess energy and just by going for a walk with them I feel much better. Positive energy in, negative energy out. I try to do this as much as possible… It’s like when I was a kid and my parents told me “You should go play outside” when everyone was arguing in the house. Instead, I tell my kids, “Let’s go play outside”. That prevents me from having to do boring tasks that don’t help my mood and to spend quality time with them. Everyone wins, especially in the winter because our brains need to spend some time outside!
Avoid overbooking to spend more quality time with loved ones
This year, my goal is to say no and keep some time free. It’s hard in the winter, it gets dark early and you need to plan ahead of time to be able to spend some time with the kids. When they have a day off, I want to have fun with them and not go back to work feeling exhausted. If we add an activity to our calendar that will get them moving, I need to make sure that I can do it too. Add some time dedicated to exercise in your schedule, whether it’s simply going to play in the snow with them or have them help you shovel during a snowstorm. Get out after dinner, wearing pyjamas under your snowsuits, and then everyone can do the dishes and go to bed. Time together is time together, no matter how you spend it.
Moving and budget
We often think that activities are costly. Especially when you go on social media and compare with other people. A snowball fight and enjoying a cup of tea on a snow couch is a splendid activity… Go sledding on the nearby hill, get your cupcake moulds out and create a pretend restaurant in the yard… anything that gets you moving in a snowsuit increases your heart rate. Go treasure hunting, make a snow sculpture, invite the neighbours over to build a snow fort and dye it with some spray, create an obstacle course. Every time you go outside counts. Simply teaching your kid how to skate can help you get in a cardio workout!
The first step is the hardest. Just getting up and getting dressed requires time and effort but once outdoors, you’ll be happy you did! You’ll want to do it again, but your daily chores might get in the way. Set a time in your schedule just like you would for a gym session, a yoga class, or a meeting with an important client. When you spend time moving with the kids, your whole family benefits!
Like my teacher always said, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes!”
Happy winter and dress warmly!
Tips for colouring snow: open an old box of Crayola crayons, take an ink pad, and soak them overnight in a spray bottle. You’ll be able to spray the snow and it’ll be a lot cleaner than food dye.
An early-childhood educator by profession, Geneviève is an avid blogger, do-it-yourselfer and fan of children’s literature, as well as mother to Louka, Rémi and Léon. Her main challenge lies in improving everyday life by chasing away routine with bold strokes of creativity. Over the last several years, Geneviève has written about family life for various media outlets. Why does she make family and motherhood her focus? Because they form an incredibly fascinating and complex environment that’s basically very simple!