You know what we know. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year (if not the busiest). Thanksgiving brings feasts, family, and fun together, but all of the hustle and bustle makes it challenging to stay active. Even though it’s Thanksgiving, you and your kiddo can still draw in the crazy good benefits of movement. You’ll find that moving your body more makes the holidays feel less stressful for the whole family.
Be the Best You that You Can Be
Sometimes the holidays bring out less-than-ideal situations. Is Uncle Carl stressing you out again by talking politics? Maybe baking isn’t your favorite thing to do, yet you’re spending the entire day doing so. Movement helps you get through these sticky situations by reducing your stress and making your body just feel good. The same goes for your child. In fact, research from Havard University has shown that aerobic exercise can improve emotional regulation. For your child, you may be able to prevent things like toddler temper tantrums and concentration issues by moving more throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. Plus, with all the food that’s around, it’s always good to defend against childhood obesity. You can’t go wrong with a little movement. You just need to make time for it.
Write it Out. Don’t Just Think.
Need planning tips? Stay active by writing out a schedule and sticking to it. You are more likely to stick to your goals if you write them down as opposed to just thinking it in your head. Think about how your holiday schedule will look. If the afternoons and evenings are going to be too busy, then maybe you and your kiddo take a morning walk together. Pencil it in. You can also group activities together if it becomes easier for you. Instead of watching TV while you wait for the oven alarm to go off, you go outside and play a quick game of family football. Just don’t forget to bring a timer and check on the food!
Stay Active with the Family
The social benefits of physical activity abound, especially if you include others. Get your whole family to stay active with you and your child. Play sports outside, go for a walk, or play a good old game of Wii Tennis or Bowling indoors. You can take this time with your family to bond and stay active. There’s no way to do movement wrong. Just get off the couch and move to your groove. Follow the lead of your child. Young kids often know how to get a ton of joy from movement.
Plan for Small Movement Breaks
Maybe planning outings with the family or waking up in the morning to stay active just isn’t in the cards for you. Remember that some movement is better than no movement at all for you and your kiddo. Set timers to get up and stretch every once in a while. Allow your child to move around if they’ve been chatting it up at the family table for a while or even if you are traveling. Take advantage of rest areas where you can! When you realize that you can do what works for you and still get movement in during the day, you’ll find that you can come up with a lot of creative ways to stay active even if you have some constraints to consider.
Make Baking Sensory Intensive
If you’re anything like us, baking is happening almost all of the time during the month of November. Thanksgiving means that the oven is on. While you’re baking, there are plenty of opportunities to enhance your little one’s sensory experience. As an idea, try to make a food art corner in the kitchen. This corner is the place where your child can get as messy as they would like to be. Make a small batch of extra food that allows your child to explore new textures and create designs on the floor. Just make sure that these messes can be cleaned up easily. You can do this on the kitchen tile floor, or you can use a big plastic plate or a bin to put the food inside. There is no goal other than to explore, move with some food, and have fun.
Go Shopping or Visit Attractions
Thanksgiving comes right before Black Friday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Take advantage of the holiday happenings in your local area to get out and move (Turkey Trot, anyone?). Do a little shopping with your child and visit a bunch of stores even if you don’t plan to buy anything. Walking around to see what’s there can be just as fun for some families. Plus, you’re moving around quite a bit. Check out local events in the area too. You never know what kind of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s events you might stumble upon. Getting out of the house is sometimes the best way to embrace an active lifestyle.
Struggling with movement can be a big bummer no matter what time of year it is. Reach out today to see if physical therapy or occupational therapy might be right for your child.