When you’re a single mom, there’s no way around the idea that you’re not allowed to exercise.
But there’s another, much bigger barrier to your happiness: getting your baby a little exercise.
“I think that, to some extent, being a single parent has the same effect on children that having a child has on parents,” says Amanda Fiedler, an assistant professor of human development and family medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“So, it is a big thing that you need to make sure that your child is engaged in things that they’re supposed to be engaged in.”
What’s your baby’s favorite activity?
The researchers found that exercise was the best predictor of children being active, and not just in their favorite sport or game.
The more children played sports, the better they performed academically and in other ways.
So even though a baby’s interest in a game isn’t going to be as keen, the researchers found, exercise can help boost their motivation and improve their overall health.
What if you want to help your child become a better parent?
Here’s what you can do to make that happen.
Keep track of your baby.
Every time your child gets older, ask her what she’s like when she’s not playing.
“There’s a little bit of a gap between when she is a baby and when she becomes a teenager,” says Fiedlers coauthor Katherine D. Karp, a child development professor at Harvard Medical School.
“It’s an important window into what her personality is like and what her goals are.”
The researchers also asked parents to rate how active their children were on a scale of 1 to 10.
The average score was 7.8, and the most active were about 6.2.
Teach your child how to sit and walk.
“In many ways, having a baby can be a very demanding life,” says Karp.
“A baby is really very demanding, and that demands they have to sit still.
But if you’re teaching your child to walk and to sit, they can be really flexible and really adaptable.”
The authors found that the more kids learned how to walk, the more they were able to engage in other activities, including soccer, dancing and play fighting.
Give them exercise.
If you have kids of any age, give them some exercise to get them to sit more.
For older kids, a few steps a day in the afternoon or evening are good.
But you can also take your child for an exercise class.
If they’re more than four or five, you can use a walker to go around the block.
The kids will likely get a better workout.
Teach exercise to your children.
“We found that kids were more engaged and more engaged with their peers when they learned to walk with a stick,” says Darp.
You can also teach them how to play sports, and play with a soccer ball, or even to make your own soccer balls.
“The kids can actually be involved in the sport itself,” says David Miller, a professor of psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and a parenting expert at Children’s National Medical Center.
Encourage your child’s friends and family to get out and play.
“If you’re out with your child, you’re really not doing anything,” says Miller.
“You’re not doing any of the things that your baby needs to do, like go outside and do the things they should be doing.
You’re not really helping your child engage in the world outside of the home.”
That said, your child may not like doing the things you want him to do because he doesn’t know how to express himself in a way that communicates well.
The researchers suggest teaching your kid to talk about things they care about and that are important to them.
“My daughter is a very open person, so when she has something important to share with me, I’ll let her know and let her ask questions,” says Aileen Krasner, an adult caregiver who has four kids ages 10 to 18.
“And I’ve been a really good coach of how to talk to her, because my daughter doesn’t want to be in front of the TV.
And if I’ve told her to go outside to do a thing, I’m saying, ‘Go outside, go outside, do this, do that,’ instead of just ‘Go for a walk.'”
Be patient with your baby: “There is a natural progression, as they get older, that they’ll want to play more and want to do more activities,” says Tami Zavadsky, a research professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“But as they become more aware of the value of physical activity and the value that it brings to their health, it becomes a very healthy thing to be involved.”
Make sure you’re giving your baby enough exercise. Most of us