4 Ways Kids Can Keep You in Shape

Lower Body Strengthening:
1. Give your toddler a bowl with some Cheerios in it. DO NOT put on a lid.
2. Check your Facebook for 7.2 seconds.
3. Look around. Has your toddler spilled every last one? If no, repeat previous step. If yes, pry the empty bowl out of your toddler’s hand.
4. Is he crying even though there was no food left? Yes? Good. Now pick up each Cheerio by squatting rather than bending or sitting on the floor. Try to pick them all up before your toddler’s crying has reached total meltdown level.
Level up: When this exercise becomes too easy, increase the intensity by letting the dog in. Race her to all the cereal.

1. Allow your preschool age children to play “theater” with their stuffed animals on the stairs. Make sure they have all 1,622 animals their grandmother has bought them.
2. Send said preschoolers upstairs with one old, broken toy that no one has played with in months, but for some reason now they both NEED that exact toy or their faith in the fairness of the universe will be forever lost. Lace up your sneakers; Before you finish, someone should be injured and/or wailing.
3. Now run up the stairs as quickly as you can, being careful to avoid the strategically placed horde of stuffed animals. Intervene with preschoolers.
4. By the time you get back to the bottom of the stairs, the fight will have recommenced. Repeat previous step until you are ready to throw away every toy they have ever owned.
Level up: Re-install those old baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs. This will not only test your physical strength, but also your will to live.

1. During rush hour, put kids in the minivan, being sure to buckle them close enough so that they can reach each other.
2. Hand them each a few toys. Find the nearest traffic jam, and get your van right in the middle of it. Do not turn on any movies or the Frozen soundtrack for your children. They should be very bored.
3. After you’ve been inching along for about fifteen minutes, your children will either begin fighting, dropping toys, and/or requesting snacks and drinks. Wait five more minutes after this begins.
4. When you can’t tolerate one more minute of whining/yelling/crying, make sure you are firmly stuck in traffic, at a standstill, and start trying to appease your children. When a toy is dropped, contort your body while keeping your foot on the brake and retrieve said toy. Try to locate the stray Ziploc bag of Goldfish you saw under the passenger seat without unbuckling your seatbelt. Separate your fighting children with your right arm while keeping your left hand on the steering wheel.
Level up: To attain maximum mental benefit, bring along your spouse. Challenge yourself to keep a Zen-like state of mind while you complete these exercises and listen to the lecture you’re receiving about distracted driving.

Core Strength:
1. Approximately twenty minutes before nap-time, load up your three year old and go to the grocery store. Make sure you have a long list of necessities to acquire.
2. Ask your child whether she would prefer to walk or ride in the cart. Whichever she chooses, tell her she must do the opposite. When she falls to the ground in a pile of angry dead weight, lift her, and try to wrestle her into the cart, keeping your core muscles tight. Maneuver her flailing feet into those tiny holes while preventing her smashing her face into the side of the cart.
3. When it is time to leave, rouse her from her half-sleep in the cart, and lift her back into the car seat while using one leg to keep the cart from rolling down the lot and into the pristine Mercedes two spaces down.
Level up: Bring along your school-age child and allow him to push one of those horrible kid-size carts. Complete the above exercises while preventing your older child from injuring yourself or defenseless elderly women with said cart.

The next time you’re rockin your “good” yoga pants and someone notices your svelte new figure, just channel Gwyneth and say “Really?!? I never get to the gym. Just keeping up with my precious snowflakes is all I need to stay fit.”

You’re welcome.

About the writer

Julie Holt is the mother of three fantastic (except when they're not) children under six, and the wife of the world's most patient man.  She works part time as a hairstylist, but should probably just call herself a therapist. Julie spends her free time running, reading, and fantasizing about actually having free time. You can find her on Twitter.

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Leslie Ryan Mills 1 year ago

Agreed on the yoga one! Very funny. Also laughed over the core strength. So true!!

Rachel Robertson 1 year ago

And let us not forget anytime you attempt a floor exercise (pushups, crunches, ect) your munchkins will sit on you and add extra weight and resistance.

Theresa Pollard 1 year ago

Love it! The Cheerio crunches are a classic lol!

Cassie Choi Paik 1 year ago

I hate that! I don’t want to share my food! Lol

Allyson Lang 1 year ago


Allison Diehl 1 year ago

I actually lost weight when my youngest began eating solid food. He would end up stealing 1/3 of the food on my plate at every meal.

Stephanie Tlyndal 1 year ago

Tired and stress. Can totally kill all the good a workout would yield

Kim Bragg 1 year ago

Lol those are good

Vanessa 1 year ago

The yoga one describes my life everyday, so why am I not as flexible as a cirque du soleil dancer yet?

Shanna Boudreau 1 year ago

Hahahahahaha. Last day of mat leave here…. Needed the laugh

Stacy Bourgeois 1 year ago

Hilarious! And, SO true!

Courtney Stout 1 year ago

I was going to say stress eating!

Brianna Asten Mahaffey 1 year ago

Yeah I’ll stick with the gym lol don’t think my mental state can handle all that chaos

Kristin Unrein Maiorano 1 year ago


Debbie Siciliano 1 year ago

The gym is for sissies. Go mamas!

Jana Kline Fligor 1 year ago


Key Last Sonatta 1 year ago

damn that sounds like torture, I stay with doing sports at least I’m having fun and they don’t feel like exercise ^_^ gotta trick my mind

Niki Richmond 1 year ago

Because we cope with chocolate and wine.