|A flock of Thom Turkeys at last year's Thom Turkey Day 5K.|
The problem here is, you don't want to lose that happy, grateful feeling you're exuding in honor of the holiday in the effort it will take to get your kids to join you. Smiles, everyone! Smiles! Toting along sullen children who do NOT want to walk with their family will suck the gratitude right out of you.
I might have given you the impression that because I write this blog that promotes family fitness, my own children happily come along every time I snap my fingers to get out the door for physical activity. Not usually. Mostly never.
Getting my kids to go along (happily) on a Thanksgiving walk will take much cajoling, pressure, even bribery. Here are my suggestions if you need them.
1) If your children are under two, they are likely too young to protest, so go right ahead and buckle them into whatever device you need to carry, push, pull them along and enjoy the outing. Yes, natural movement advocates recommend letting them walk on their own as soon as they are able, but if you desire to go faster than .00345 miles an hour, do what you have to do to stay grateful.
2) If you don't mind lying, the younger children might rise to the occasion if you tell them you are going out to search for the Magic Thanksgiving Turkey Feather. Bring along a special bag, you know, just in case you find it. Wink. Wink. If you actually do find a turkey feather, you're on your own.
3) If you have a dog, use the dog. This will work any time, not just Thanksgiving. Appeal to the older kids by telling them the walk is for the dog. The dog needs exercise. Tell them that the dog is a family responsibility; walking the dog is part of taking care of the dog. Still protesting? Give them the choice: walk the dog or pick up dog poop. (If you can get them to do both you are a really good parent.)
4) As adults we know why we want that workout: we are making room for more pie. Plain and simple. This reasoning might not appeal to the younger set. What does? Make room for that. My hunch is the kids may want gluttony in another fashion: screen time. So allow it. Just not during the Thanksgiving meal.
5) Have a special guest or two joining you for Thanksgiving? Then by all means, make the Thanksgiving workout their idea. If you tell your kids Grandma or their favorite Aunt Cheryl want to go for a walk then they likely won't protest. They might give you the stink eye, but they will act like angels in front of special guests. Use it to your advantage.
If you can't manage the pre-meal family workout, there's always the post-meal family football game. Not into football? Make up your own active holiday tradition. How many push ups can you do without puking your pumpkin pie?