The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting, which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

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24 Comments on The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

  1. Thank you for letting me guest post today! My own words were good for me to read, because my kids are downstairs watching Netflix right now. Time for breakfast and a bike ride!

    • I love having your guest posts! Some days I have to remind myself it may be easier for me to let the kids sit in front of Netflix, but at some point in the day I am going to pay for it!

  2. summer vacation is coming up and I’ll have to do this with mine. although I get them up early now before school and get them jumping on the trampoline. Helps wake them up.

  3. That is the cutest little bike! I love getting outside with the kids because it gets me going too!

  4. I love keeping all of my kids active too. It is hard on days when it is 100+ degrees, other than of course swimming time. They are all so much better when they get activity.

  5. Excellent post. As an educator we see this effect in the taking away of recess minutes. Our boys are feeling it. We need to be careful of what we create!

  6. Yes! Whenever my kids are whiny, I know they haven’t been outside enough. I try to send them out first thing in the morning and let them in when they have run around for a long long time 🙂

  7. I make sure my boys are outside quite a bit! It is getting harder now that they are 9 and 12 – they are running out of ideas. I need to come up with some stuff for them to do this summer!

  8. You took the thoughts out of my head this morning as I was out for my daily walk after I walk the 2 younger ones to school. I have 3 sons and was thinking that I’ll need to take them with me every morning. It helps me focus on what I need to get done and they need to get some wigglies out. I totally hear you on the Netflix thing. Nothing good comes from letting my boys veg all day.

  9. I have a 9 month old so he’s not really out and about yet, but I can’t wait until he gets to the age where he wants to run around outside! Right now I just take him on walks and we’re starting a swim class soon. I figure we’ve got to start him young. 🙂

  10. I have a 13 month old son and we are always outside for at least 2 hours playing in his pool and water table! Plus our walks with the pups and when we go for runs a couple times a week! Being outside is a natural mood lifter too, saved me from sever postpartum depression!!!

  11. When my twin boys were little I made sure we got out of the house and to a park by 9am. At 9am the chaos started and whining, etc. I still make sure we go do things outside everyday.

  12. I just wrote about this recently, too. Getting outside is so important these days. Not just for kids but also for us adults.

  13. I don’t have any kids yet, but whenever I babysit my cousins I make sure to keep them as active as possible. They want to stay in and play video games, but after a fun day of activities, they always thank me in the end. Plus I’m a happy camper because they’ve used up all their energy and just want to watch a movie and cuddle by the end of the day!

  14. We practically live outside during the summer. My boys are so active and in turn, I am as well. It definitely makes us a happier bunch!

  15. Nothing helps my son grow then to be outside and running around. Experiencing the outdoors, exploring, camping is so awesome! Now if us New Yorkers could keep the snow away to enjoy it that would be great.

  16. Last year I had to force my daughter to play outside! This year total opposite thank goodness!!! She loves to be outside.

  17. First I love your blog name and photo! We’re doing the same with our kids. We shut off cable and are forcing them to play outside all summer! Like we used to! 🙂

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