Staying active—a family affair

July 2023

When you have kids, life gets busy. Whether your kids are toddlers, teens, or somewhere in between, there is always something to keep the family busy.

But when you become a family, physical activity should remain an essential part of your life. Physical activity is important for parents and children—it helps with physical health, mental health, and sleep and can boost your immune system. And let’s be honest, if you’re a parent of a school-aged kid, a good night’s sleep and a healthy immune system are both on your wish list!

So, how do you keep everyone happy, healthy, and moving?

The good news is that the time you spend getting active with your family doesn’t have to be structured. Instead, it can be spontaneous, fun, and off the cuff. 

Here are a few tips to get everyone up and moving.

Every step counts

You don’t have to be an athlete to be active. Every little step counts towards physical activity. Think hula hoops, hopscotch, and a rousing game of tag! The key is to move your body, and bonus points if you can be active outside.

As we recover from the pandemic restrictions and welcome organized sports back into our lives, it’s a great time to show your kids that swimming lessons or hockey practice aren’t the only times they can move their bodies.

Grab their sticks, nets, balls, bats, and gloves to get some practice—with their parents! Or leave all the equipment behind and just go for a walk in the forest or explore your neighbourhood.

Make time to move

Planning regular physical activity breaks for your kids is the key to success. Especially in the winter months, it’s easy to hunker down and avoid the winter weather. But the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommends limiting screen time for kids 5-18 to two hours per day and limiting sitting for extended periods.

Getting the kids up and moving regularly is important—no matter what the weather is doing!

Wondering how much physical activity is enough? Look no further!


Time (total)




180 minutes

Any intensity



60 minutes

Moderate to vigorous



150 minutes

Moderate to vigorous



Source: Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Spacing activity out gives you and your kids a much-needed break from screen time and homework and can help them focus more deeply on their homework

Let them take the reins

This isn’t your same-old gym class! Let your kid(s) choose their activity and make up the rules as they go. Giving your kids control will help to keep them engaged in what they are doing so they’ll stay active even longer.

Dancing, tag, bike rides, and yoga—the world is their oyster.

While their imagination can be endless, if they need a little help, check out these online resources, and don’t forget your safety equipment:

Bonus tip: check in with your gym teachers for additional tools and resources to help you make your kids happy to move while at home.

Be a (role) model

Remember to lead by example. This means taking a well-deserved break during your workday (working from home or not) —make time and plan to move.

And when your kids are getting into a game of hide and seek, heading outside for a game of catch, or wanting to hop on their bikes for a quick ride, join them! 


If you don’t have all the equipment that’s called for in certain sports or you have kids of a variety of ages and stages, don’t be afraid to improvise. 

  • Traditional sports and games can be modified to work with what you have and who is playing.
  • Many activities can be adapted so all ages and abilities can participate.
  • If you’re unsure what to do with your kids, don’t sweat how you sweat it! Find out what activities work best for your family.

Finally—have fun! Follow these tips to get your full house happy, healthy, and moving.

Portrait of Eric Pfeiffer

Eric Pfeiffer is a Senior Health Management Consultant for Manulife Group Benefits. He’s worked in the Group Benefits industry for 24 years in both Disability and Absence Management, and Organizational Wellness. Eric has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo with a focus on work and sport injury. He frequently presents on important wellness related topics including physical, mental and financial health at various industry conferences.

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This article is for your information and education purposes only.

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