Exercise and the only child

Having only one child has its joys and disadvantages. One child to focus on whether you are a single parent or in a partnership is easier financially. Single children can be well rounded emotionally and physically but effort needs to be put forth by parents to achieve that. Children need direction and guidance. Children in families that are large still require attention and direction but tend to be more active because of the siblings interaction with each other. Exercise sometimes occurs more often as a part of daily activities of the children playing together. Families with single children still get exercise but more effort to focus on it may be needed.

Encouraging your only child to exercise can be a challenge but fun as well. Start by involving everyone. Your single child is more likely to exercise if the adults in their lives join them. Purchase bikes for all of you and take bike rides together. Early evenings or mornings are great times to ride bikes. The air is cooler in the morning and if your child is an early riser this is a good way to start your day. Morning conversation with your child choosing the topics or leading into their own thoughts are great ways to get to know your child better. Evening rides are good to wind down the day and distress for you and your child. Talk about the day or just enjoy the scenery.

If bike riding is not something that your family can do there are still lots of ways to get your single child to exercise. Purchase them outdoor equipment such as scooters, roller blades or skates, balls and bats, kites or soccer balls according to their interests and your available space. Some of these ideas will need your involvement but spending time with your single child will only benefit you both. Frisbees, sidewalk chalk and bubbles for smaller children can be tools to get them moving more. You don’t need much space for those things and most small children enjoy these.

If you can’t be outdoors too much or you have limited space getting your single child to exercise will be more challenging. Things like jump ropes, small exercise trampolines meant for indoor use or games that require body movement are good. Encourage your child to take walks with you. Walk to the store, library or relatives house if possible. Walking with your child helps you both exercise and in the long run will instill good habits for both of you.

Exercise videos that you can do with your child can be fun too. Making a game of exercise and having fun will encourage your child. Single children also benefit from being with other children. Make play dates with other children their own age is good for single children. They can play at the playground, outside or take walks with adult supervision. Playing with other children gets them moving around the house and being more active is more fun with other children. Try and not have too many children at one time playing together. One or two other children to play with is enough to be creative with and form friendships with. Hide and seek, twister or other simple games indoors or out are beneficial.

Keep exercise simple, fun and  include everyone and your single child will reap the lifelong benefits.