Tips & Tricks for Getting Kids Involved in an At-Home Fitness Routine - Part 2
If you haven’t read Part 1, go check that out first to learn more about the 3 Pillars, along with the previous tips and tricks.
Picking up where we left off, let’s talk about 3 More Tips for Fitness Freedom and Meeting Your Child Where They Are At:
Just like ANY other Street Parking workout, customizing and fitness freedom is the name of the game when it comes to approaching kids' workouts. You do not HAVE to do any of the workouts as written, it’s all about making adjustments as needed and simply thinking of it as a template. Don’t be afraid to be creative or allow the kids to come up with ideas — it can help them “buy in” with choices and autonomy!
Ideas for how to customize: adjust the time frame, adjust the rounds, add or reduce seconds of work or rest, run it on an EMOM clock, or switch out a movement that your child WANTS to do to make it fun and motivating. The main purpose is you’re getting them moving, and that itself is a WIN!
When kids are working out with you, you can customize to have your child follow your movements, or change it to a partner-style workout with a friend, peer, adult.
So what about mid-workout customizations? Because let’s be real, this is bound to happen at some point. One of our favorite tips is to use your own watch as a timer instead of a visual timer. Why? Because if you put it on a big timer and then realize your child is NOT having fun and you need or want to adjust, it is easier to say, “1 minute left” regardless of where they are at, allow them to still work hard, but end it before it’s TOO much. It is good to push our children and show them what it looks like to do hard things, but we do not want to decrease their confidence or make them NOT want to workout again.
We have a child’s whole life to help them grow and become stronger. We want to focus on form and technique, not weight or heavy loading. Kids do not have the same hormones as adults, and therefore do not grow muscle similarly to us until puberty. Allow them time to BUILD a solid base, do many repetitions unweighted or with light weight to gain movement efficiency, and when the time comes, muscle and strength can become more of a focus.
When it comes to “loading,” we suggest using minimal weight: small dumbbells/kettlebells/PVC pipes, a backpack, milk jugs, water bottle, stuffed animals, balls, cones, or anything else you can think of that is lying around the house for implements instead. Another fun way to build motivation with implements is “rainbow advances.” Maybe they start with the red dry erase marker for goblet squats, then they move to an orange, and then yellow, etc. No weight change, but an idea to get them to “level up.”
POINTS OF PERFORMANCE
One KEY to children's fitness is to focus on small things at a time, as well as deciding WHAT they get praise for.
Choose to praise effort and awesome form instead of reps, weights, or times! This will reinforce the value of effort and form as a priority as they’re working tocreate a solid foundation for athletics and physical activity in general.
Focus on ONE point of performance or one specific aspect of a movement at a time. For example, if squats are in the workout: you could focus on doing one perfect squat each round, or pushing knees out for all reps, or keeping heels on the ground for 3 solid reps. You do not have to focus on EVERYTHING at once — this can get tough and confusing, especially for new movers, so instead think of simple goals. Eventually these small simple goals will add up.
Remember: YOU influence what your child finds important! If you are praising, “Wow, great hands all the way to the sky!” versus “You got so many reps!” — this can act as a guide for the child to focus on form rather than highest reps. Also, let's be real, for some kids, if they’re the ones counting, they will probably get close to 100 in 30 seconds. 😉
*A quick science blurb: If you have heard the term “practice makes perfect,” the science behind that phrase lies in a term called “neuroplasticity.” This describes the brain's ability to be malleable; how with practice, repetition, and repeating movement patterns, the brain can create new pathways to allow it to grow and rewire itself to function better. Think of this in the sense of driving and directions: at first you may need GPS or help with directions getting to a destination, but once you do it a few times, you have it in your brain. This is the same with tasks, where at first you may need help or more practice, and as time goes on, the task gets easier as the brain creates new pathways. This ability is especially unique in our youth, but it is something all humans can experience — “you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
Just like with swimming or riding a bike, we shouldn’t expect our children to be able to do complex movements right away without help or adapting. Give them time to build a base, to use their training wheels or arm buddies, and then gain confidence and good movement patterns before giving them the next challenge.
SCORE & INTENTION
The main goal with each workout is ALWAYS to have fun while trying to complete the tasks, whatever that looks like for your kid! In the Daily Workouts coaches give a goal time or goal score range to help you assess if you hit the intended stimulus. For kids this can simply be an intention to work on squat form or work hard the entire time. The goal truly depends on where the child is at and the motivations driving them.
Talking about the intention of the workout BEFORE you begin with your kid could be a great habit to build into every workout session, whether it’s something like “have fun even when I’m tired” or “knees out on all my squats.” We want kids to learn to work hard and do challenging tasks putting effort forth, but depending on the workout, pushing MORE repetitions can give the wrong intention instead of the focus being development of intentional movement. Sometimes this is just a balancing act!
We are SO excited to share our SP Kids programming with you all! Know the same goes for kids as it does for adults: #morethannothing, #youcantmessthisup, #fitnessfreedom. Don’t be afraid to be creative, go with the flow, be flexible, change the plan if you have to, and have fun! You got this!