Every day we are complaining that we don't have enough time. We don't have time to:
- eat healthier
- read books 📚
- clean the house 🏠
- spend time with our friends
- walk and enjoy our pets 🐇
- relax and meditate
- work out and exercise our body
....and this list could go on based on your own passions and interests. From my point of view , there is a huge predilection among families to blame our children for lack of time.
In this article, I will try to give some suggestions how to embrace sports activities and include them in your families'routine just to make sure you are an example and a role model for yourself and your children. In this way you can model a healthier and happier life.
One of our favourite activity is riding a bike. We have started riding the bike together very early when Horea was only 2 years old. From then until now, when Horea in almost 6 years old, we have tried different styles of riding the bike:
- at first, we have used bike child seats on our bikes. On Simina's bicycle we had the one attached on the trunk of the bike and I had the one fixed on the bike using bracket. Horea's favourite seat was the one fixed with the bracket because this type of seats can handle better the shocks from the off-road paths.
- another way of exploring nature and roads was using the child bike trailer. In this way, we were able to make longer trips because Horea could sleep very well, in a more relaxing way, while we were cycling ... I want to add that he was sleeping in the child seat also while travelling 😀. Another advantage of using the trailer is that the child can take books, dolls, cars, radios or music players and play inside the trailer. Be careful to choose a trailer that has arches so that the movement will be attenuated by them.
- using a bike without pedals, an equilibrium bicycle, was another important step in the 2 wheels riding adventure. An equilibrium bicycle encourages kids to use their arms and lift their legs when moving forward. It helps them building up their strength, to fine-tune their motor skills, coordination, and agility. In this way, the transition to the pedals-bicycle will be easier. During this process, we made an ERROR. We have started alternating the equilibrium bicycle with the one with pedals and helper wheels before Horea was able to master his balance on the bike without pedals. In this way, he lost his interest in riding the balance bike and started loving the bicycle with helper wheels because that was a more easier activity. After making this error we had to explain him several times the benefits of riding the equilibrium bicycle. We think that our discussions were useful because, after that, he made the switch again to the equilibrium bicycle until he was mastering it.
- Right now each one of us is riding our own bicycle in the park, on the bike trail because Horea made the transition to the 2 wheels bicycle with pedals. We are still learning, but we are very happy with his achievement. You can see the joy in his eyes that he made it.
In 2013, before Horea was born, I started a 100-day challenge of running every day a minimum of 30 minutes. I liked a lot that activity and from that moment until 2018, I created a habit from doing it. During this period I exposed Horea to the majority of my running activities:
- he saw me almost every day preparing for going outside for a run
- he was my supporter when I was taking part of different amateur running contests
- when he was asking me to take him to running activities, I had put him in a running stroller that I had to push. We also went together on running trails and in 2016 we participated together to a semi-marathon ( he was the driver of a very nice stroller)
- lately, we are going outside walking/running with our dog too
When Horea was four months old, we have started going together to the swimming 🏊 pool. We found a place where the child could go together with one of his parents in the pool and enjoy the water while doing guided exercises with a teacher. I think that the concept is called "baby swim".
All our friends with babies 'who have attended the course were very delighted. The majority of kids were loving the water and all the process. At first, our kid was very happy when we were going to the swimming course, but after some time we have noticed that there was no more pleasure for him in attending the activity, so we have paid attention to his needs and we have stopped the activity. We don't know exactly what was the problem, but we wanted to respect his decision even if he was only 1 year old.
When Horea was around four years old he has started going to swimming classes from his kindergarten. From that moment he rediscovered the pleasure of playing in the water and as a bonus, he wanted to go to the swimming pool with us. So now with patience, we have reached the moment when we are going together at the pool. After we are playing together I can make some pool laps by myself. Lately, I have noticed that he started to make pool laps too. 😀
We have started going to climbing centres when our boy was around 3 years old. At first, we were only observers, but easily, he wanted to explore the wall by himself.
At the beginning, I was his safety net and we were playing/climbing on the wall together. After he gained some confidence in his strengths, we have managed to find a trainer who was working with kids of Horea's age. We have found Mihai Leon Iubasiu (from a climbing centre in Cluj Napoca - Centrala de Escalada) and he, with his calm attitude and experience, was the perfect match for our boy. Mihai was forming groups of 3 or 4 children who were almost at the same training level and almost at the same age. In this way, with fun games and a positive attitude, the kids have started to learn the climbing techniques.
In conclusion, coming back to the subject of the article, we, as parents can start climbing the wall during kids' training sessions, exercising in this way our body and mind. If you are not a climbing fan, you can be next to him as his personal photographer 😀.
5. Getting out in the nature
A very pleasant way to move and exercise with kids around is getting out in nature. Until Horea was 3 years old, we preferred one-day trips in the mountains from our region.
When Horea was too small to climb all the way up the hill or the mountain, we were using a baby carrier from Manduca. We were lucky that our boy was not so big 🙂 and both of us have been able to carry him (successively). In this was we were enjoying the beauty of nature together.
During our walks he was sleeping, he was eating, he was looking around, and he was putting a lot of questions regarding the new regions that we were visiting. In time, he wanted to go by himself, he was eager to explore the mountains on his own feet so we had to be near him with help when it was required or needed, and pieces of advice when they were asked.
As Horea grew up we wanted to stay more days out in nature and to visit places that were far away from our hometown. So we bought a free-standing dome design tent from Zajo ( Norsk 3 Neo Tent) and the opportunities that appeared were countless. Until now we used the tent only when we went outside by car, but we are planning to make trips with bikes and also on foot.
6. Winter sports
From my point of view, winter sports is a very large topic and I want here to give you only a reminder of their existence. Winter sports are one of the best ways to train and relax your body together with your family. You can do some traditional sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating or sledging. If those are too difficult for you, there are some recreational winter activities as well. Here you and your family can build a snowman or snow fortress, you can dig a snow cave or you can get involved in a snowball fight.
If one of the sports that you want to practice with your kid is skiing, you can find more pieces of information about how we had approached this topic in the article where I was presenting 13 tips to help your toddler to start skiing (13 Tips to Help Your Toddler to Start Skiing).
7. Horse riding
The first contact that we had with horses/ponies was during our trips. Our kid is fascinated by animals and when he saw the ponies he wanted to go near them. After explaining him in a few words that he can ride the pony and what we have to do to be able to hop on the nice creature (yes, a 2 year small child can follow your explanations and it is very important that he receives respect from your side), he wanted to ride them. Of course that there were a few attempts when we stopped before riding the horse. At first there was a small caress, after that a short sit in the saddle until the moment that Horea told us that he wants to go ridding. Naturally, in that moment we were not near a horse or a pony 😀😀
In Horea's mind it remained the experience that he had before with horses and some trigger made him want to start riding a horse. We found a nice place (Wonderland Cluj Resort) where we were able to fulfill his wish. For now, the only brave one from our family was Horea who started to make guided tours with small horses.
We have on our family bucket list riding horses to be able to make organized trips in nature riding each of us his own horse. But, the main impediment at this point is Simina's fear of riding the horse 😀😀, not Horea 😀😀. We will get there, one day. I am not loosing my hope.
8. Scooter riding
The first transport device that our child mastered pretty well was the scooter. Everything came so natural in using this way of transport. Horea just loves the scooter riding.
While the kid is using the scooter you can use your own scooter, you can run beside him/her, you can ride your bike or you can choose a scooter that can carry you and your child too.
9. Home Work Out
After our boy was born, in the first month's of his life we have started working out at home in his presence. Also, we were moving his body in a funny way simulating different types of exercises. Our help in this period were online training programs. We used training sessions from Shaun T and yoga sessions from Ekhart Yoga platform. The only disadvantage in these situations was that sometimes our boy was more excited watching the screen then his sweating parents. Now the new challenge was to hide the screen from the eyes of the child during the workout.
NO PICTURES from our home training! 😀😀😀
At the end of this article I want to add that we, as parents, have to be role models for our children and we have to expose them to a wide variety of sport activities. This is beneficial for the kids health but also can help a small human being to discover his / her passions and talents.
Be open minded to try and adapt your own passions taking into account your children' desires. We have learnt so many things from Horea and we have understood that collaboration is the best way to learn and teach as well.