Mother’s Day is around the corner and while handmade gifts and cards are treasured, sometimes what Mom really wants is a moment of peace and quiet. That can be a tall order, especially if you have young, energetic children. We asked HealthConnect’s mom contributors to share with us their favorite ways of tiring out their children. Here are their responses:
Some people call Baby Girl the Energizer® bunny because she keeps going and going and going. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “I wish I had her energy,” I would be rich. So trying to tire my 5-year-old daughter can be extremely challenging. Not impossible, but challenging.
My main strategy is to do a lot of the things she likes. For example, she’s wanted to extend the length of her bike rides from 1-2 miles to 3-4 miles. A few weeks ago, I did just that. I strapped Baby Sis in the bike trailer and we set out on a bike ride. Once we hit the 2 mile mark, I asked if she wanted to go further. She gave a resounding yes, so we continued another .5 mile. At that time, we rested for a few minutes and then headed back home. She completed the 5-mile ride but her pace slowed the last mile. When we got home, she had no problem sitting and playing quietly.
Running, riding her bike and using her scooter are fun ways for her to burn off energy without realizing there are any “ulterior” motives. I can’t say it always works but from time to time, I get lucky and she’s knocked out as soon as her head hits the pillow at bedtime.
HealthConnect Columnist, Registered Dietitian
With my boys (I have three of them 4 and under at home!) I find that a little leg work up front really helps in getting them engaged enough to continue an activity and tire themselves out. We actually play “race” outside a lot on scooters and bikes (and mommy walking briskly with a baby attached to her-definitely the slowest and always the last to cross the finish line). Once I race with them down the driveway a few times they are much more likely to continuing racing each other and then I can sneak back inside to get some work done (or sit down on the couch and relax!).
If that fails I tell them that if they come back in they have to go take a nap.
Our family likes to be very active, but our favorite way to tucker the kids out is to go for a family bike ride to the park about a mile away from our house. We have a playset in our own back yard, but adding a bike ride to the park allows for a change of scenery and a little extra exercise. At the park they always get hungry or thirsty, but instead of packing, we ride our bikes a little further up the street for a quick snack. Once everyone is refueled, we ride our bikes back home. Without even knowing it, the whole family is getting exercise by being active and one of these days I will tell them that they have ridden their bikes a whole 3 miles.
Our four-year-old boys have lots of energy! On weekends, we typically try to let them do something physical in the mornings so that they don’t get antsy by midday. Fresh air and sunshine always do wonders, whether it’s a long walk on a trail, riding bikes outside or playing on the playground (Anderson Park and Monclova Park in Maumee are favorites). On a rainy day, it can be challenging for us to burn all their energy and creativity is key. I have made up games before just to get them to move–contests to see how much they can jump, acting out “Hickory Dickory Dock” on our stairs (when the mouse runs up, they run up; when the mouse runs down, they run down) and even kid exercises on YouTube.
HealthConnect Columnist, Lactation Consultant
I have found that sometimes trying to tire out my kids backfires. I have to allow them to get a rest or a break, or else they get so wound up from being over tired, that we all end up in meltdown mode. My kids don’t nap either, so that can make it even more difficult. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing your child needs to sleep and neither of you can do anything to make it happen. If I know we have a busy weekend planned, I have to make sure everyone gets to bed early at least one night, no matter what kind of argument I may get. I have also found that things like overnights and slumber parties are sometimes not worth it. As they are getting older, it gets easier, and sometimes I am the “mean Mom,” but I would rather have them be their good natured selves and be rested, than deal with tired little monsters.
How do you help your child use up their energy? Share your tips in the comments below!