Making time for family

As the first week of the Healthy Family Challenge comes to a close, Karine reflects on her family's recent accomplishments.

Photo: knape/iStockphoto

I am so incredibly excited and proud that the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge is up and running! Please join us if you haven’t already.

But I am not going to lie: As a working mom with four school-aged kids, a husband and a dog (OK, fine, she is a Great Dane and the lowest maintenance out of the bunch), I fully admit that finding the time to be active together hasn’t been easy. And it’s only the first week.

Mornings are out: I wake the kids at 6:45 a.m., and they need to be dressed, fed and out the door by 8:00 a.m. This does not include the time needed to complain about breakfast (unless of course we are following Lianne Phillipson-Webb’s awesome menu plan for the Challenge) as well as deal with the forgotten homework, neglected forms that need to be filled out or lost library books — not to mention the daily tears and reluctance of one of my sons (who shall remain nameless) who genuinely does not want to go to school at all right now. Oh, and not mention the minor fact that I need to get ready for my job at the offices of Today’s Parent, too.

After school, my husband and I are still at work so our babysitter helps get the kids home, gives them a snack, helps them with their homework, supervises as they do their chores and then drives them to their weekday extracurriculars, including, but not limited to: dance, piano, hockey and soccer. Add in dinner, and it’s now 8 p.m. Bath time, story time, bedtime… Goodnight!

What I love and appreciate about fitness expert Stacy Irvine (in addition to her intelligence, wit and three awesome kids), is that she gets busy households like ours. When we asked her to develop a program to help Canadian families get more active, she didn’t tell us to buy expensive equipment or join a gym. (Thank goodness, because I have yet to find an “all ages” club that caters to my 40+ year old body as much as my six-year-old’s…) Stacy totally understood that we wanted to give parents some suggestions about how to be more active, but also to simply have some fun together as a family.

The balloon games we played on the first day were easy, fun and economical. And who doesn’t love a dance party? What I have realized is that spending time together is simple but it is also hugely impactful. It almost breaks my heart to see how much my kids look forward to our daily activity, and how disappointed they were when we had to skip one, like we did last night. How did spending just 15 minutes together become such a big deal? Regardless of the answer, I am hooked.

How amazing would it be if every parent took the time to make the commitment to do this every day? This is more than a challenge for the Ewart family: It is an awakening.

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