by Alicia Kollmar MS, OTR/L

Did you know that research that shows that 10-20 minutes (depending on the study) of cardiovascular exercise has positive effects on a child’s ability to focus throughout the day if the child has ADHD? Yes! The studies have been with children who are diagnosed, but it likely has a positive effect for all children, not just those with a formal diagnosis. If you can fit in some exercise before school that is ideal of course, but even if you can’t consider that it may be helpful to do before you tackle homework.

It may be worth knowing when your child has PE and recess. Some schools don’t offer both on the same day (yikes!). While most educators know that one recess per day isn’t enough, the decision makers only allow one in the schedule, making attention and focusing issues that much more pronounced. You can help your child by giving them a chance to move.

Of course there are a lot of options for outside activities such as bike riding, games like tag, playing on play structures, etc. If you have a trampoline please note AAP recommendations; risks are higher for children under age 6 so they should not use them. It can often be more challenging to do outdoor activities in the morning if your child needs your supervision outside, so I wanted to make sure you have some indoor options too.

Some things you can do if you are inside:

*Have your child put on some music and have a dance party

*Run up and down stairs if you have them. (Maybe make this a routine for cleaning up their things downstairs if they have an upstairs bedroom. J)

*Search for exercise videos—they don’t necessarily need one for children, it depends on their age and interests. There are some below you can try. If you don’t have the time to fit in a video that long there are shorter ones. They are better than nothing! The shorter videos (5 minutes or less) are a great option to do after school before homework.

10 minute exercise:

Casual and with more talking, but easy to follow.

Colorful and with music:

15 minutes:

Good variety of movements, simple to follow

20 minutes:

Simple to follow. Not as kid friendly, but some may like it

30 minutes:

PE with Joe-a variety of exercises, offers several videos

GoNoodle. For educators, but has options for families at home.

Kid Shake Fitness. Membership required.

Do you have a favorite movement routine or activity that you are already doing for your child? Share it on our Facebook page!