4 Tips for Getting Kids Active

All kids are different and have their own unique personalities with very specific likes and dislikes.  Some will gravitate towards athletics or have a natural ability for a sport, others prefer to read a good book, or can have a natural ability for math or science.  Whatever your child's natural ability or focus is, as parents, of course we want to encourage our kids to follow their dreams.  

As parents, we also want the best for our kids and we want them to be healthy.  We all know that too much time in front of a screen creates a sedentary lifestyle and we don't want that for them or for us! So what can we do to encourage our kids to be more active, without making them hate us for it?  

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When I started running half marathons and obstacle course races, my kids became curious.  Why was I coming home drenched in sweat while they were barely waking up? Why did we suddenly have a big tractor tire in our backyard? What was a PR? Why did I need something called GU (gross!)? So, I showed them.  They come to most of my races and are my biggest cheer group! They come to boot camps and sometimes they join in on some of it.  I got them involved in my new found passion for running and my excitement became contagious.  Soon, they were joining me on short runs around the block.  They were setting goals for themselves to beat, their own Personal Records.  We made up little boot camp style workouts for them in the backyard and eventually we signed them up for some of their own races and then they had to "train"! Then came race day and they were stocked to receive their own medals and see all their hard work pay off.  


Tips for Getting Kids Active

  1. Lead by example.  Show excitement about going for a run or working out.  If you complain about having to workout, there's no way they're going to want to join you.  As the saying goes, you don't have to workout, you get to workout! Keep a positive mindset for your own activities because those little ones are always watching us :)
  2. Get them involved.  Ask them to join you for a run, if running is your thing.  Get yoga DVDs that are kid-friendly and do them together.  Go to the park and play basketball together.  Plan hikes as a family.  Whatever gets them excited about being active!  
  3. Reward them.  Set goals together and when they reach them, give them a reward.  It doesn't have to be anything outrageous, just something that will keep them motivated to keep going.  
  4. No pressure! Don't make it a chore for them.  It should never be about punishment, but rather something they look forward to regularly.  Keep it fun, change it up a bit, and go with the flow.  

It's not always easy for us.  One kiddo likes it better than the other.  They still fight and tease each other sometimes during our family runs.  They can be competitive, even with the almost 4 year age gap.  But, as parents we just keep encouraging them.  I keep inviting them on runs with me and sometimes they don't want to and I don't make them.  Other times they ask to join me on their own.  It's not perfection but they are more active than they used to be and now they are really understanding the importance of taking care of their bodies.  

Do you have any tips on how you got your kids excited about exercise? Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to hear them :) 

Raising Healthy Happy kids in Las Vegas | Let's Go! Fun Run

We've been living and raising our family in Las Vegas for 6 years already.  Last year I wrote how I l enjoy calling Las Vegas home.   Feel free to check out that post HERE!  Do I get weird looks when I tell people this? Absolutely.  And I always feel I have to defend Vegas.  One thing I hear a lot is how Vegas doesn't have a great public educational system.  If you look at the data, it's true, Nevada does not rank high in public education.  Does this change how I feel about raising my kiddos here? Not really, not right now.  I do wish kindergarten was full day, though!  Things might change as my kids grow up, but for now I like the elementary school they attend.  It's a four star school and my son is in the Gifted & Talented Program.  He's involved in a weekly morning art club, and he's in Instrument Ensemble, having music practice twice a week. He'll be participating in Battle of the Books (kinda like Jeopardy for Clark County schools based on 8 books they had to read and study).  He'll also be attending Astro Camp in May!  Their school principal and teachers communicate regularly with us, they put together fun activities throughout the year, and seem to really care about their students.  Staying involved with school activities has helped my son stay on top of his grades and reading and I'm sure it will be the same for my daughter too.  At least, I hope so ;)   

One such activity was the Let's Go! Fun Run!  For the past 3 years, the school has put together not only the traditional cookie dough selling fundraisers, but also a fun run.  I was so excited about it the first year and I'm so happy they have continued to have fun runs for the kids.  We're a pretty active family and anything that gets my kids out there and moving is a big plus!  With the Let's Go! Fun Run this year, they added the "color run" aspect to it, which made it especially fun for the kiddos.  I'd participated in the Color Run 5K a few years ago, so my kids knew what to expect, but the paperwork they sent home was very specific in explaining the color corn starch they used and even had an optional colorless fun run for those who didn't want to participate.  The fundraiser works by having the students ask donors to sponsor their run.  I really liked that this year there was no minimum donation required.  I think it made it easier for folks to donate what they were comfortable giving.  In the weeks leading to the race, they have The Go! Team visit the classrooms getting the students excited about fitness, healthy eating, and good manners.  

As a family, we "trained" for the fun run about 2 weeks before.  So, it really got them involved and having fun while running and exercising.  On the day of the run, I volunteered to serve the runners water and got to see my kiddos running and having fun.  It was a blast.  

My little Elysse insisted on fun knee high socks for the run.  She wanted to be like her mommy! Proud moment for me ;) 

Raising healthy, happy kids is a big priority for me as a parent and doing it in Las Vegas is no different than doing it most other places.  I also feel that it is my responsibility as a parent to take care of their educational needs too.  I'm not going to just have them in school and expect the teachers to do my job.  I expect my children to learn in school, yes, but it is my responsibility to teach them beyond the school system.  Children learn and thrive in a hands-on environment and I believe life-experiences and travels will do so much more for my kids in the long run than going to a top-notch school.  Don't get me wrong, would I want them to go to a top-notch school?  Absolutely!  But, I am also realistic and I intend on making the best of what we have and where we are.  I hope you do too!  Do you love or hate your child's school?  In your opinion, what makes the difference in public schools?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you're local to Las Vegas! 

How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy & Be Active

OOPS, so I haven't blogged all week.  I feel bad about it.  I really enjoy blogging and it helps keep me sane.  But sometimes, life gets crazy and there aren't enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done and work, laundry, dishes, all these things tend to pile up on you...BUT, that's for another blog post because I finally did carve out some time this morning to share a bit of my family life with you.  
Most of you know, I'm a mom of two kiddos!  I blog about them a ton, especially when it comes to doing fun stuff together and going on family vacations and adventures!  Today, though I want to talk about how important it is to lead by example and how to encourage kids to eat healthy and be active.  When I started this weight loss journey and began exercising regularly I did it for me.  I mean, yeah, I wanted to be able to run around with my kiddos and not be out of breathe, I wanted to be a good example to them about eating healthy and keeping active.  But guess what?  These things don't happen by osmosis.  Kids don't just become interested in eating kale chips because you are.  They won't trade video games for jumping jacks because you tell them they should be more active.  Nope.  You have to engage children.  You need to get out there and do these things with them.  They not only need to see you go for a run, they need you to invite them to join you.  It took me a little bit to realize that while I was enjoying the benefits of a healthier, more active lifestyle, my kiddos weren't as involved as I wanted them to be.  So, I made a conscious decision to change that!  And for the past year or so, we've been making changes for the kiddos too!  

Here are a few things we do & you can use to help you and your family eat healthier and be more active:

Making easy  Lexi's Clean Kitchen  no-bake nut-free Powerbites! Check out the  recipe  :) Kids love these!

Making easy Lexi's Clean Kitchen no-bake nut-free Powerbites! Check out the recipe :) Kids love these!

  • Cook together!  Having my kiddos help me cook dinner or a healthy snack helps a ton when trying new things.  It doesn't mean they'll love it, but they will at least try it because they helped make it.  And, even if they don't like a certain dish or vegetable, it's still a great way to spend time together and talk about the benefits of healthy foods verses junk food.
  •  Make Exercise Fun!  Kids are kids.  You can't pop in a workout DVD and expect them to love the burn!  You gotta make it fun for them and for us, that means taking it outside. Whether we're going on a family hike, a bike ride with daddy, or a 1 mile run I like to let them know we're not just having fun but also exercising.  We'll do fun little "boot camps" or challenges at the park.  Jason & Diego will play football or basketball.  The important thing is to stay active! 
  • Be Sneaky!  Yup, I am not above tricking my kiddos into eating healthy.  I mostly do this by adding spinach & chia seeds to all our smoothies and making fresh juices with both fruits & veggies!  Smoothies are usually a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt, a banana, milk, berries, a bunch of spinach, and a tablespoon of chia seeds.  One of Elysse's favorite juices is made with 5 carrots - 1 cucumber - 4 celery - 2 big handful of grapes!  It's fun to experiment and try new combinations and of course, have the kids help ;)   
  • Share your Passions!  I love to sign up for races and my favorite are obstacle races and lots of times my hubby runs along with me.  It's fun to take the kids to watch us run and cheer us on.  By race day, they are super excited because they saw how much we trained for that day.  They see us put in the work and then see the results of our hard work.   Nothing like your kid see you succeed and be proud of you! 
  • Get them Involved!  Not only do we sometimes take the kids along to see us race, we also sign them up for their own races!  Of course, there is nothing competitive in these races, it's just a ton of fun for them and that's what we want.  There are lots of races that have fun 1 mile family runs or are kid/stroller/walker friendly.  We want our kids to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle now and as adults!  

How do you encourage your kids to eat healthy & be active?  Feel free to share your tips too!