Keeping Girls Active in the Summer


I live outside of Boston so you'd think it would be easier to keep my daughters active during the summer when the weather warms up. It helps, but not as much as you'd think. It rains a lot. And sometimes it gets too hot. Or, my girls just wake up so late that I am scrambling to get them up and out the door before the sun is completely gone.

For me, keeping my girls active during the summer is just an extension of keeping them active all year. The key, I've found, is a routine. An exercise or activity list that works for them year round. And, of course, it's different for each person. Life is never easy with girls!

Indoor Fitness Activities Work Year Round

My two daughters are at the flexibility extremes. One is extremely flexible, and one has very tight hamstrings. Yoga is good for both body types but the daughter who is not flexible finds it painful.
Our solution was family yoga focused on restorative yoga. This gentle yoga actually gives a deeper stretch because you can stay {comfortably} in a pose for a very long period of time. Another benefit of introducing yoga to children is the mindfulness aspect that our yoga instructor would gently work into her instructions.

There are easy ways to incorporate yoga with kids without classes.

Try Yoga Pretzels cards or stretching exercises. My daughter found a book on stretching at a used bookstore and uses it to work on specific muscle groups when she is sore from sports.

Another indoor fitness activity that has worked for us is a mix-up of sports that my kids make up. My son likes basketball using a soccer ball as the ball and a pull-up bar mounted on a wall as the hoop. My kids strung a rope across two poles in our basement and played sit-down volleyball.

Outdoor Activities for the Entire Family

When two of my kids suffered from concussions lasting more than one year, the only activity that they could manage was badminton. We would play it as doubles, with an adult on each side. Gradually, the kids took over and they now play it on their own. It's great for eye-hand coordination and it's a sport with a low rate of concussion!

We have a Golden Retriever that requires a one-hour off-leash hike daily. The dog park that we go to is a reservoir with winding creeks and plenty of sticks and pinecones on the ground for the taking. It can be an effort to get my kids to come, but once they are there, they play for hours "hydroengineering" the creek to make the water move more quickly. They build stone walls for forts and collect sticks that they turn into bows and arrows. There is often a puppy encounter too!

I'm not opposed to screen time. My kids can bring their phones on the dog walk. They are welcome to take photos or video of the wildlife or just capture their dog in his element (he has his own Instagram @pragmatic.dog).

Sometimes kids just need a little reminder of how much fun it can be to get active. Inviting friends to play badminton or join us on our dog walk is also a good way to share the love.

Mia Wenjen blogs on parenting, education and children's books at PragmaticMom. She is the co-author of HOW TO COACH GIRLS with Alison Foley, Boston College Women's Soccer Head Coach. Connect with on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

#parenting #yoga #excercise #digitaldetox #balance #summer

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