Why fitness is the key to summer success: Incorporating exercise on your child’s routine

June 15, 2020

Children will start wrapping up their time at school pretty soon, and summertime will be here before you know it! These last few months are not exactly what we had in mind, and we are all adjusting to the fluid changes that are coming from our local government officials. But as we start looking ahead, it is important to keep our heads and spirits up - and to start planning for a successful summer ahead.

Manuel Ramirez

AnswersNow BCBA

Children will start wrapping up their time at school pretty soon, and summertime will be here before you know it! These last few months are not exactly what we had in mind, and we are all adjusting to the fluid changes that are coming from our local government officials. But as we start looking ahead, it is important to keep our heads and spirits up - and to start planning for a successful summer ahead.

Some of our children will have close to three solid months, if not more, of summer vacation. Most of them will spend the majority of the day at home, with no homework or structure to keep them focused over that time period! We want to provide you with tips on how to structure your summer for success and not let the vacation fully hinder all the progress your children have made during the school year. 


The first and easiest way to strategize a well-structured summer is to grab a template that helps break up each day for what you’d like to focus on. What we are trying in our home is this: 


            - Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Focus on Fitness

            - Tuesday and Thursday: Arts and Crafts 

           - Saturday: Outdoor Fun 

            - Sunday: Time to Relax 


Since I am writing this on a Monday, we decided to Focus on Fitness! My sister, Cassandra, and my daughter volunteered to show us how we can focus on strengthening our bodies and focus on the multiple benefits of working out! Working out focuses on fine-tuning coordination and balance, finding a positive outlet to relieve stress, and providing the body the movement it requires. 


The 30-minute example workout below is one you can adjust with different moves. 

Make sure to start with 5 minutes of a warm-up, making sure the body goes through all ranges of motion to provide optimal and safe movements for the remainder of the workout. Moves you can have your children run through during the warm-up would be arm circles (small, medium, then large - in both directions), bunny hops, jumping jacks, toe touches - movements that help get the body warmed up and stretched at the same time. 


For the first portion of the workout, have them do 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest and repeat them for 3 times. 

Movement 1: High Knees; focus on bringing the knees as high as possible. You can have your arms in front of you where your hips begin as a target for your knees to hit. 



Movement 2: Windmill Toe Touches; wide ‘sumo stance’ and arms extended forming a T, bring your opposite hand to touch your opposite toes. Once you’ve touched your toes, stand all the way up and alternate to the other side. 


Movement 3: Bear Crawl with Ball Push; you’ll want some object for them to focus on small pushes with each hand. The bear crawl will have children on hands and feet in a “bear” position, focusing on keeping the bottom down. They’ll also be focusing on one more task, just to provide them a bit more stimulation. With each step they take forward, one hand will gently push the ball ahead of them, then the next step the other hand will gently push the ball forward. 



Movement 4: Crab Walks; this move is quite the challenger! You’ll start by sitting on your bottom, leaning back so hands can support you. Lift your bottom off the ground and squeeze the glutes, making sure the only parts of your body on the ground are your feet and hands. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll then have to WALK! 

Be sure to provide water breaks, especially since it's summertime and quite warm. You don’t want your children dehydrated. After a 3 minute rest, you can get them prepped for a running portion. This should be around the 20-minute mark already for your workout leaving us with 10 minutes left for the run portion and stretching. 


5-minute running portion of the workout, you’ll want to make markers for the Run Races at least 20 feet apart. With limited space, you can use the markers as a target to go back and forth for the 30 seconds of work for the first two moves. 





Movement 5: Slow-Motion Run (30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest): Have your children mimic a slow-motion running scene and make sure they add their sound effects to make it more enjoyable! 



Movement 6: Run Races (3 races as fast as possible with 45 seconds of rest): Now using your markers you’ve set to create a start line and a finish line, hype up the race and get your younging excited! Have them work with you counting down from 10 to initiate the race. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. GOOOO!!!



After the running portion is completed, it is now time to slow down the heart rate and cool down. The full body was used during the workout so you’ll want to spend quality time on each muscle group, at least 20 seconds per stretch and per side. Side bends are great for balance, stretching out your abs, hips, and improving flexibility for your spine. The lunging hip flexor stretch, my all-time favorite, really focuses on the hip flexors. Hip flexors can become tight for various reasons - simply from sitting around all day, running, etc.. Make sure you tuck your hips under your torso and push the body forward towards the foot that’s planted in front of you, keeping your chest upright the entire time. After five solid minutes of stretching, you are done - you have conducted a successful workout, and hopefully, your family is feeling better! 


As I was writing this, I started to remember those long summer days where I would easily fall into the habit of sitting on the couch, mindlessly staring at the TV, waiting for my favorite show to come on at 5 o'clock. This was, of course, EONS AGO, before our family had installed the internet in our house. My brother, sister, and I would twiddle our thumbs, trying to figure out what we could do! But now, with the world at our fingertips, there are so many sources of inspiration. Planning for a summer of success does not have to take up a lot of energy and time. We can make do with what we have and carry with us every single day!

If you need help planning a summer schedule for your child, our BCBAs would be happy to help! Download the AnswersNow app today to schedule a video call with one of our clinicians.


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