Ever wonder how you’re going to make it thorough triathlon training with that preschool child asking you so many questions? Granted, some of the questions are asked by adult non-triathletes, too, like…How much longer do you have to be on your bike? Why are you grunting? Why do you wear such funny clothes? But, you actually have to answer that preschooler, whereas you can choose to ignore that adult!
There’s also a big difference in how you handle training when you have a toddler versus a preschooler, as that preschooler can do so much more. And, with that fact comes the good and bad…
- They can participate with you more in training – The cool thing about preschool age kids is that they can work out with you a bit. You can have them do a sort of “follow the leader” game to do the warm up and cool down stretches you do, as well as low impact workouts. We, in no way, are suggesting that you allow your preschool age child to use adult weights or workout equipment, but plyometric (jump training) exercises are fun for kids. Yoga is another great activity to do with your preschooler and it is great for triathletes, too.
- They understand time a little better – As kids get older, they have a better understanding of time. Using a timer is a great way to help your toddler track your time. You can set it for an hour and they can watch as it moves around. Wow, you are training and they are learning! Using a timer also gives them ownership and a feeling of control, which is so important for them.
- They are able to help you out some – Preschoolers love “jobs”. They love to feel like helpers. At preschool, they are line leaders, plant waterers, and passer outers. Think of all you can have them help you do – fill water bottles, bring you snacks, and help with stretching. Nothing like a little one pushing your legs down for you to really get a full stretch!
- They will most likely see you as a role model and start to want to imitate what you are doing. How much fun is this! Get them on a little trainer next to yours. When you finish your long ride, grab them for a quick lap around the block. Schedule your swim workouts during their swim lessons and spend a little extra time in the pool with them.
- They will watch really fun cartoons and movies with you – Come on, who doesn’t love SpongeBob or The Lion King. When you have long rides, have your preschooler pick out a few movies or cartoons and let them stay in their PJs. Jump on your bike and let the party begin.
- They are bigger now then they were as a toddler – This is a pro and a con. Although they will still love to go for a run with you and get pushed in the runner stroller, it is a bit heavier now. Make sure you use good form as to not get injured with this added weight. We also suggest allowing them to run a bit with you, if you can fit it in.
- They have opinions and they will let you know them – Make sure you give them options when you are together. You can no longer just pick the movie to watch or the snacks you want them to have. By giving them some room to make decisions, they become more independent and can then own their decisions. This helps to make working out easier for you, because they feel better and don’t need you as much.
- They want to do what you are doing – This is a pro and a con in reality. Everything takes a little more time now that you have preschooler asking questions about everything you are doing. Yes, this can get frustrating and can take extra time to get everything done, but realize they are doing this because they look up to you and are learning. Yes, it will take longer, but everyone will be happier in the end.
- They don’t nap as often – While those morning naps are gone, in most cases you still have the afternoon naps. But, those long Saturday and Sunday workouts are now straight on kid all morning, with no break for anyone. When you had a toddler around, you had about an hour and a half of nap time in the morning. Now, you have to be a bit more creative in finding more for them to do to stay busy, so you can get the whole workout in.
- They have more to do as they get older – So many birthday parties and activities as they get older. This is where you need to become a really good partner and become flexible. Communicate about your workouts and find what works best for the family and be flexible, as schedules change week to week.
Take advantage of your toddler becoming a preschooler and get engaged with them. Include them in your workouts and then, YOU can get engaged with their afternoon naps. I mean everyone needs a nap after a long workout. Right?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.