If you have kids at home, you probably feel like you’re in demand every waking minute — helping with homework, cooking meals, doing laundry, answering a million questions, and of course, squeezing in some quality family-bonding time.
Andrea Rogers is right there with you!
Here are her tips for making it happen.
1. Skip the Parent Guilt
When you schedule time to work out, you may feel like you’re taking precious time away from your family.
It’s important to shift that mindset and recognize that self-care actually makes you a better parent. (As the saying goes: Put on your oxygen mask first.)
“I get it — you feel like the more time you give your kids, the more you’re giving your kids,” Andrea says. “But the more time that you can concentrate on creating a strong and healthy you, the more energy, the more mental strength, and the more patience you will provide to your kids.”
2. Set an Example
Chances are, you want your kids to be active and make healthy choices. So when you need a little extra motivation to work out, remember that you’re setting an example for them, and let that be your “why.”
“My kids see me stretching and moving every single day — and not just in my workouts,” Andrea says. “It’s important to me that they understand the connection between mental and physical health, and that the two go hand in hand. It’s the best thing you can show your kids.”
3. Focus On Quality, Not Quantity
You may not be able to carve out a full hour for an epic workout — especially once your kids have outgrown naps.
But you can probably find 15 minutes here and there while they’re reading a book, doing an arts-and-crafts project, or watching a TV show.
“The best thing is not to focus on it having to be a big, long process,” Andrea says.
When you find yourself with a few free minutes, squeeze in a short-but-effective workout like the 15-minute Xtend Barre Express.
4. Get Everyone Involved
Depending on their ages, your kids may actually enjoy working out alongside you! Around lunchtime each day, Andrea takes a quick stretch break, and her kids usually end up jumping in.
“It normally starts with me getting on the rug in the living room and starting to practice my stretching,” she says. “Then the kids say, ‘I want to do the splits! I want to try that!’ and it turns into everybody stretching and moving our bodies.”
5. Take Movement Breaks
Look for opportunities throughout the day — not just during your workout — to get the whole family moving.
“We have dance parties on a regular basis,” Andrea says. “Each of us will pick two songs, so it ends up being a 15- to 30-minute dance party.
I’ll incorporate some of the moves you see in my programs — my pliés, my reaches, my stretches — but it’s an opportunity for us to just connect to music and movement freely and get a great little cardio session in.”
6. Head Outside
Spending time outdoors offers some pretty amazing mental health benefits, so make it a point to get some fresh air as a family.
“We live in New York City, so we’re walkers,” Andrea says. “We will take on an adventure every day just by walking to Central Park. We’ll take our jump ropes and Frisbees with us, and we do as much outdoor activity as we can get. My kids love to take their scooters all over the city.”
7. Get Motivated By Music
Make a playlist of your family’s favorite songs, then blast it when you need a pick-me-up.
“Music is the biggest motivator, and not just in terms of physical movement,” Andrea says. “Whenever we’re in a funk and I can sense that we need to get up and move, we turn on the music — everything from theatrical to pop music, old school, and Motown.”
8. Be Flexible
When you have younger kids at home, a rigid workout schedule may not work. If that’s the case, just go with the flow and watch for opportunities to get some activity in as a family.
“We wing it, simply because every day is so dynamic and it changes depending on their school and their energy,” Andrea says.
“I assess that energy — so when the kids start to get a little less patient with sitting down at their desk and doing schoolwork, or they start to have those mood shifts, that’s when we put on music. Everybody starts to dance, and within five minutes, we’re in a better mindspace.”