Are your kids lethargic? Unmotivated? Uninspired? Are your tired teens emotionally committed to some electronic device? Are their muscles small and their bellies big? Are energy and enthusiasm forgotten habits of the past? Let’s change that, shall we?
An Awesome Mom’s Question
First our school system decided it was a good idea to make gym class an elective, and not a graduation requirement. Then the pandemic messed up the sports teams. Now, I don’t seem to be able to get my 13yo or my 15yo off the couch. It’s gotten to the point where the mere mention of exercise leads to another argument. Is this one of those “let it go” issues, or should I be pushing them to exercise?
Advice for Awesome Moms of Tired Teens
Should you let it go? Absolutely not! Our children need to get moving before it’s too late. It kills me that Physical Education has lost its punch! Do school administrators think kids will suddenly become active after they graduate high school? (I certainly hope they don’t think that.)
You may be asking, “What does she mean by too late?” Did you know that
over 70% of our American workforce suffers from 1 OR MORE chronic illnesses?
That means that more than 70% of our precious young people are doomed to have 1 or more chronic illnesses. And, those kids who have a couch attached to their butts will be the first in line at the doctor’s office (if they’re not there already).
I’m about to go all “Sciencey” on you. (Yes, I’m a proud Science Geek.) Are you ready?
It’s essential to your kids’ health and welfare that they get up and move every day. Activity increases blood flow by working that muscle called the heart… which brings more oxygen to their brain… and triggers the release of happy hormones (endorphins)… which elevates their mood… which kindles laughter… which massages the organs… which boosts the immune system.
And don’t forget the brain benefits! The pre-frontal cortex (handles executive functions) helps with working memory and planning abilities. With all that additional blood flow to the brain, you stay more alert and have better focus, which means you can better complete that task you’ve been assigned. That makes everybody happy.
Yup, more movement means healthy, happy kids. It also means healthy, happy moms. BONUS!
8 Tips to Reintroduce Movement
Of course, it goes without saying you can’t be telling them to go play if you personally happen to be permanently attached to an easy chair yourself. It won’t work. They’ll interpret your inactivity as you personally not valuing the benefits of movement. Unfortunately, your low energy is contagious, but fortunately, so is your high energy. So, get a move on, and lead by example! Start here:
- Replace the word “exercise” with “play.” Exercise sounds like a chore. Play sounds like fun.
- Change the conversation from “You need to get up and move” to “Let’s go play!” and then, lead the way. (Yes, even for your teens.)
- Initiate movement yourself. Get the ball rolling (literally), and show your fatigued family how to have fun. Participate!
- Start with a spontaneous 5-minute game of Tag in the living room a couple of times a week. Eventually, let it spill into the rest of the house, and then the great outdoors.
- Play Red Light before meals/snacks, with the food being the finish line.
- Can you walk and talk at the same time? Go for a walk whenever they come to you with a problem. Deal with it, side by side, in a united front.
- Take a household break every hour, and have your kids teach you dance moves for 5 minutes.
- Make your home inconvenient. Move all the frequently used items to the top drawer for short people, or the bottom shelf for tall people. Everyone will have to bend and stretch and reach for things like cups, forks, soap, towels, etc.
DOUBLE BONUS! Increasing activity decreases the drama in your home. It will help you feel more patient and resilient, despite the pressures of motherhood. Plus, increasing play will make your Littles happier, energize your Middles, and stimulate your Teens.
For more detailed info on happy hormones, and how to generate your own, check out How To Get Your Happy On.
You got this, Mum!
Have fun with your kids today!
PS You can also find a lot more in-depth information on this topic in my book How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door, plus tons of novel activity ideas you can try with your kids.
About the Author
Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who can help you sort things out.
Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to up the strategies in your Parenting Toolkit, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into your parenting.
Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise.
Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route?
Book your free chat with Deborah today, and sort things out together.