Posts Tagged ‘family activities’

Family Activities with Baby

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Family Activities with BabyOnce I was comfortable being out and about with baby, I found myself dragging my husband to all sorts of family activities that we’d never had reason to attend before. I remember one particular event, a family fall harvest sort of thing that we went to when my daughter was just 5 months old. There were kid’s games, face painting, vendor booths advertising local preschools, stilt walkers, and generally all of the fun things you might find at such an event. As my husband pointed out, most of the activities weren’t really for adults and my daughter certainly wasn’t old enough to get what she was looking at, let alone participate, but he humored me. The truth is, though, that these types of family activities are important, long before baby has any clue of where you are.

For baby, these types of activities provide a wealth of new experiences that help promote cognitive and emotional growth, along with social understanding. They hear new sounds, see new sights, and smell new aromas. They are introduced to the idea that there are lots of people in the world, not just mom and dad, while being in a secure environment (stroller/baby carrier/arms) with their parents. Talking about what you see and pointing out new sights engages baby with language and facial emotion. Stimulation at this age is critical for brain growth. Of course, always be aware that too much stimulation can be a bad thing for baby, so be prepared to give them a break should they need it. Oh, and fresh air is healthy!

Additionally, this a great chance to bond with baby. Showing them everything there is to see is more than likely a happy moment for you too. It’s exciting to show baby their first carved pumpkin, first Easter egg hunt, or first parade. Your excitement will likely rub off on them. Seeing mom smile usually makes for a smiley baby!

For you, getting out and about is critical. Whether you have just one young baby at home or multiple children, it’s very important for mom to feel like a normal, social human being. Sometimes after long days of Daniel Tiger, cutting up meat, teaching the toddler to “use your words” and finding you’ve had dry spit up down your back for who knows how long, a mom just needs a bit of social interaction. Heading out to those family places and activities, even if baby is far too young to participate, is an easy way to get in some adult interaction and change of pace while still being in a kid friendly atmosphere. You can chat with your partner, shop a bit if there are vendors present, and maybe even meet new mom friends. Even just the sights and sounds around you will offer a break from the everyday routine and refresh your mind set.

I know that for me personally, going to those events helped solidify in my mind our new status as family of three. It was fun to see the other families with older children running around and get a glimpse of what we had to look forward to. It was a great way to get out and about when the sudden removal of our formerly “free” lifestyle weighed heavily on my psyche. It allowed me to show the world to my baby and my baby to the world. So go, get out and join in on the next parade, festival, or what have you. You’re laying the groundwork for strong family bonds and demonstrating the importance of family time. Don’t worry if you’re toting a 3 month old who doesn’t have a clue yet. That’s not important. Getting out and enjoying life is!

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her daughter and husband. She loves where she lives and the abundance of family friendly activities that it offers.

Making Fitness Part of the Family

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Making FItness Part of the FamilyWhen you have small children, incorporating the entire family into a fitness regime can seem downright daunting. Here are a few tricks that can make getting active a lot easier.

Start with the Basics but be open to new challenges

The more comfortable you are with the intended activity, the more open your kids will be to giving it a try. Hiking beginner trails, going on nature walks, and swimming together are all great places to start moving as a family. Many places that offer swim lessons also have open family nights where everyone can get in the pool. If you have younger children, start small and work up to bigger and better. There are a lot of great road races that allow you to run with a stroller as well as beginning fun runs that are a mile or less.  If you are trying something new, don’t be intimidated, but do your research so you know what you will need in order to make your adventure successful.

Have the necessary equipment

If you are looking to try an activity like running, biking, or hiking, chances are you will need some equipment. If you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money, there are many places that offer used sports equipment. You can also look for great deals at actual garage sales or online yard sale sites. Getting things secondhand will allow you to try different activities or equipment without the commitment. When I first had my son I wasn’t sure I would enjoy my regular runs with baby in tow but I wanted to give it a shot. I ended up finding a great secondhand jogger that was just as good as brand new.

Be realistic in your expectations

Incorporating fitness as a unit should be focused on the kids and not necessarily the adults. The actual pace and intensity will obviously be limited with young children, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. If you look at this time as furthering your children’s fitness curiosity rather than your personal workout time, there will be fewer frustrations. I often run while my son bikes ahead of me. I’ve learned to count this as a bonus workout for the day but also a great time to reconnect. There are days where we make it three miles, and there are days we only make it to the end of the block. Try not to set parameters on how far or how fast, but simply enjoy the time with your family.

Have fun!

Much like a child, have an open mind and an open heart when it comes to family fitness. Being together is priceless and the memories you will be creating will last a lifetime.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a mother of two preschool-aged boys and a personal trainer who lives in Tucson, Arizona.