Chatting to other Mums, I notice a bit of a common theme coming up – excuses their kids give to not go to bed. These mini Ninjas have offered up every excuse under the book, from being scared about the monsters under their beds to a sudden and mysterious illness to mimicking animal noises in the hopes their parents would come and investigate right back to the to the simple claim of not being tired.
If any of these scenarios are proving a little too familiar, it may be time to give the kids some different and new activities to partake in, so that they’ll rid themselves of all of this excess energy (seriously where does it come from?) and actually fall asleep at night, so you can have less little arms tugging on you in the night and more “me minutes.” It makes me pretty happy to hear about how many Ninjas include their little ones in their home or holiday workouts, any excuse to get outside (or stay inside) and move around with the kids is always a great one.
Physical activity should (most of the time) be enjoyable because life is too short not to keep things exciting and interesting! If the exercise is fun, you’ll have no trouble getting the kids away from the couch or screen, and it will set a great example to others about the importance of, and fun in, physical activity. Soon you can disguise your “go to sleep” agenda in a magical cloak of fun, get some fam time in and soon they’ll all be snug as a bug in a rug.
It’s a dance off
Is there is anything more fun than having a dance off in the privacy of your home with your favourite people? Nothing burns off excess energy like dancing (plus who knows what moves you’ll learn along the way). Pop some music on that makes you feel great and dance around with the little ones before bed. Next dance move guaranteed will be the sleepy mini Ninja.
Get them in the kitchen
Sometimes trying to wrangle the family, work, the laundry and getting dinner on the table at a reasonable time can be a tired and overwhelming experience. Encourage the kids to get creative in the kitchen and trial out some of our TIFFXO kid-friendly recipes from my planner (like my fave Peanut Butter Oat Bars or my Spanakopita Pie), it will broaden their taste buds and tire them out.
Cultivating a vegetable garden is like an outdoor classroom – kids can dig, play, plant, smell and learn how to appreciate vegetables all at once, and it might save you a trip to the grocery store!
Have yourself a scavenger hunt
Even the big little kids will be keen on this one. Set up a backyard nature scavenger hunt. The idea is to find all the items on the list and gather them as quickly as possible, and get the kids enjoying the outdoors. List ideas such as oak leaves, pinecones, rocks, branches, shells or pebbles, and get them noticing smells, sights, and sounds. If the weather isn’t playing nice to explore outside, try an inside toy scavenger hunt instead (bonus points it clears up the house at the same time).
Shotgun being the banker
It’s not always physical energy that needs to be burnt off, sometimes kids need to burn off their extra mental energy too. The extra energy can cause kids to stay up as they can’t turn their brain off. Get a family board game happening after dinner, stimulating the mind so they can sleep better later.
Time to look at that clothesline with a whole new meaning and pop on a clothesline art show. Concentrating and recognizing creative pursuits is one of the more rewarding aspects of growing up. Encourage your kids to draw, paint or make collages and hang them up with pegs on the clothesline. They can then put on a show, basking in their creativity and explaining what their artwork is about.
Mini Ninja, Are. You. Ready?!
Why not set up a backyard obstacle course? Use tape to create fun outdoor board games, or set up an obstacle course with old tires, appliance boxes, and tree stumps. Moving through it will teach younger children key movements like over, under, through, and around (and will also tire the little tuckers out).
Time to paint the house
Try ‘water painting,’ in which toddlers can paint the side of a building (or the house) with a brush and bucket of water. It exercises arms and upper torso while also teaching them about wet and dry; light and dark, and evaporation and who knows, you may get some house design inspo.
Running away to join the circus
Did someone say trapeze lessons? If the kids have ever dreamed of being a circus performer swinging from crazy heights; here’s their chance. Note that the trapeze looks far riskier than it actually is.
Saturday morning beach time is all about nippers! If the kids are novice surfers, jump on board (pun intended!!) and find the nearest surf school for a lesson. Surfing improves strength, fitness and swimming ability and they’ll feel invigorated all day, plus this gives you a chance to catch up on some rays.
It’s time to park it
I’m talking taking the little ones to your local park where the running and playing with exhaust them before sleep time, you could even find some pals and local mother’s groups and make it into a chatty session too. You know my TIFFXO workouts can be taken anywhere – why not do a group fitness class outdoors? Or your backyard is good too! Don’t underestimate the national park walks we have at our disposal as well, just waiting to be explored. Find a new park and plan a scenic, low impact walk with the whole family. Alternatively, turn it into a hiking adventure with a trekking pole and backpack full of refueling snacks.
Ride that bike
Bike riding is a great way to exercise out in the fresh air and sunshine. If the kids don’t own a bike, there are many options around to hire one for the day. So head to the local park or bike track around your neighbourhood. If the weather allows it, pack a picnic and make a day of it.
Self-defense or karate
It’s a jungle out there, so why not enroll the little tackers in some basic martial arts – karate can improve physical strength and improve self-confidence plus they’ll love how strong they feel. Or get them joining you in a TIFFXO Taekwondo workout in the loungeroom – that’s hardly any extra effort!