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Tips on how to exercise with children present.

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

I’ve been asked a few times how I manage to squeeze in a workout when I'm home with the kids. It’s important for me that my children understand that I have needs as well, and that I do take time for myself. I will often invite them to come down with me while I'm doing my exercises as long as they follow the rules and keep themselves busy.

Before I share 3 basic tips, please note that my children are 4 and 2, and they wake up at 6am every morning...

1. You're why!

Understand why you're choosing movement. This will help you make a realistic exercise plan and get in a positive mindset before getting started. My why is to move my body. It's that simple. I need it for my mental health and to prevent my body from feeling achy!

2. Expectations.

This is so important! Are you realistic in setting your goals according to your environment? How long do yo plan to workout for? For me, my expectations when my children are around is just to move. I try to get my morning workouts under 30 minutes, that’s from the time I get dressed to when I return to mom mode. That’s all I want it to be right now and that’s good enough for me in this chapter of our lives. I also understand with children being present, this 30 minutes will most likely be disrupted, I will have to pause to tend to one of them and will need to modify my planned workout as I go, but knowing this beforehand has helped me embrace ANY movement I am able to do, even if it isn’t what I set out to do.

3. Boundaries.

Foreshadow that your children will interrupt your workout to ask for a snack, will be climbing on top of you, will need you to help them find their missing sock or 3 legged stuffed toy or how to open something that can’t be open… and so on. It WILL happen. But if you communicate your boundaries with your children beforehand, these moments will be easier to manage.

Here are a few phrases I am known to repeat throughout my workout…

" I hear you, I am just going to finish this exercise and be right with you."

" Oui, maman va t'aider dès que j’ai terminé mon exercice."

" No we do not climb on my back right now."

" La collation va attendre un moment s.v.p."

" What did I just say?"

" Your needs are met, I will help you find your toy in just a moment."

On certain days, I have to repeat myself over and over again. Other days I can get a workout done with just one interruption. I can truly say they’ve developed more patience over time, and have understood that my needs are as important as theirs in that moment.

I will also be honest and share that this is not a daily thing. I don’t have a strict routine where I head to the basement every morning to exercise. I listen to my body’s needs. I assess our whole family’s needs (whether everyone slept the previous night, or if someone’s energy requires more attention, etc) and take it from there. I don’t believe in negative self-talk if I don’t manage to move my body. It's a period in time where life is more chaotic, time management is challenging, and doing our best is more than enough.

Be kind to yourself Mama


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