Two fathers spend time outside with their toddler.

Our Role Models make time to move with their kids. Here’s how.

The number one thing parents tell us is that they just don’t have time to prioritize helping their kids develop physical literacy. It seems like one more thing on a never-ending list.

We get it, mornings are rushed and evenings are crammed. Before you know it, it’s bed time and you don’t even know where the day went.

But we also know that making time to move (both free play and structured play) every day is a key way kids develop physical literacy, and it’s important to find ways to sneak it in. So we asked our Role Models to tell us how they find the time in their busy days. Here’s what they told us:

“Block it in the family schedule. Do things you all enjoy. We love to go for family walks — we all need to move so why not move together?”
— Dai Manuel

“Walk to and from school, and take detours to explore the hood on the way home. When I’m crazy organized (or there’s been a fresh snowfall), we hurry out the door early and play in the park for 10 to 15 minutes before school. But that doesn’t happen often.”
— Jennifer VanOosten

“Stay around after school and play in the playground. Even for just 20 minutes.”
— Maya Fitzpatrick

“My kids and I try to head outside and be active at least 10 minutes before the bus comes to help them have a calmer, more settled ride. When my kids get off the bus, we’ll play outside, following their lead with activities like hide and seek, soccer, racing around the driveway, or walking down to the lake. Often, we stay outside after school, doing a variety of things such as throwing snowballs or looking for animal tracks. If this doesn’t happen, we always make time for a PJ dance party.”
— Sara Vartanian

“Think outside the box; there’s a bunch of easy ways to move inside. Grab a stool and jump off it. Play tag. Jump on the bed. Practice your somersaults. Have a dance party. Ride your bikes around the basement.”
— Holly LaRochelle

“Use active transportation instead of the car, play after the school at the playground, and do active play dates with other kids. Schedule active outings on the weekends for hikes, skiing, biking, and swimming, etc. I guess I should add my oldest, who is 11-years-old, is starting to not be interested in outdoor play after school. But she loves to roam around in our neighbourhood with friends. It’s important for older kids to also be allowed to be active with their peers without parents.”
— Kari Svenneby

“Stay out for 20 minutes when you arrive home from school/daycare pickup. Everyone is already dressed warmly so we like to squeeze in a little play before dinner.”
— Kathryn Lagden

“Walking to and from school is a workout, especially when there’s snow on the ground and my younger one just has to make snow angels every few minutes. After school in the school yard is one of our favourites, too. A few months ago my older one and I were doing yoga in the mornings to help start the day right. You just reminded me how much we loved it. Do February Resolutions work? [Editor’s note: They sure do; every day is a new day. Don’t wait for a special occasion to start or re-start a good habit]”
— Puneeta Varma

“Choosing to walk/bike/scoot somewhere rather than drive is our #1 way to squeeze in activity. Planning ahead for dinner (take meat out of freezer the night before and put rice in rice cooker in the morning), and encouraging kids to play outside after school helps, too. To maximize weekend outdoor fun, I get most of the shopping and errands done during the week, so we can play all weekend.”
— Karen Ung

“We don’t schedule sports or classes after school. Instead, my son and I get out on our own after school to go for a walk with his scooter, to go skating, sledding, or do something else outside. I also plan meals ahead so that I know what I will be making as soon as I get home, or use the crock pot ahead of time.”
— Tanya Koob

“We do all our family active time on weekends — winter we spend the whole weekend together outside skiing and hiking; summer is spent in the pool, biking and running. We sign up for events — five kilometre runs or 10 to 15 kilometre bike ride events — and then ‘train’ together. Keeps it fun and motivates older kids.”
— Deb Lowther

“We have a pretty crazy post-work/school schedule (like everyone) so I love that my daughter comes with me to walk the dog before bed most days. It’s a great way to hear how her day went while we all get a bit of activity in.”
— Heather Gardiner

“We are busy with at least one child every day after school, but at home our family takes the dog for a walk, and plays outside tobogganing, on the trampoline, or exploring. In the summer more time is spent all together in activities like biking, hiking, swimming, and other active adventures. We want to get into geocaching.”
— Joan Chand’oiseau

“Honestly (and this will sound awful), you have to embrace the suck. For example, I’ve been sick for two weeks and would rather be inside in bed. But knowing in my heart that getting outside, even for a little bit, is what our whole family needs. Pushing yourself to be active even when you’re not up to it is a must (I call this fake it ’til you make it).”
— Jennifer Pinarksi

“My answers are much like many above. Walk to or from school as many times in a day/week as you can. Make kids come along on dog walks — or send a couple of them out alone with the dog. Stay and play as long as possible after school. It’s so true that no one else does this — we’re always one of the last families to leave. Oh, I almost forgot to add one more: Sharing Dance!”
— Stephanie Slate

“We tend to cocoon in winter and the up-and-down temperatures have made it tricky to coordinate outdoor skating, which we enjoy. So we do our daily walk to and from the bus stop. Since I do my workout while the kids are at school, they will generally follow along with my husband’s 15-minute workout after he gets home from work.”
— Erica Gomez

Do any of the suggestions from our Role Models inspire you to try something new with your family? Or do you have other suggestions we didn’t cover? Tell us about them in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook. We want to hear about your challenges and solutions!

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