The Benefits of Exercising With Your Child | Cleveland Southside Moms

Even with COVID-19 forcing us to slow down our lives, we still manage to be busy. So, it’s important to take those moments to connect with our children. Exercising with your kids is a great way to do that. Especially when they’re young. Toddlers and preschool-aged children go through rapid growth and development. Teaching them healthy habits and spending quality time with them early on will reinforce their development and strengthen your relationship. 


Katie Fetsko, co-owner of The Little Gym of Brecksville/Sagamore Hills and The Little Gym of Rocky River with her husband Bill and their partner Mike Bakonyi, says that taking those moments creates a bond. 


“Kids are doing lots of activities and parents are busy, so this is great one-on-one time,” she said. 


Katie said programs like those at The Little Gym enhance opportunities for development. The Little Gym’s philosophy, called Three Dimensional Learning, focuses on physical, mental and social development with their Brain Boost!, Get Moving!, and Citizen Kid! dimensions of learning.


Exercising with your kiddos gives you an opportunity to incorporate parent modeling, intersensory redundancy, and more. Parents can bring in colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and even household chores, create games, pretend play activities, and fun while they exercise with their children. 


The Little Gym also provides a social opportunity. “Now we’re seeing COVID kids,” said Katie. “They were born during the year of COVID, so they’ve had limited opportunity to socialize. Here, they can be around other kids safely.”


Katie said in the first three years of their lives, kids’ brains are at their most active, so it’s important to make the most of those early years. At the Little Gym, and even at home, exercising with your kids can enhance their vocabulary, strengthen their large and fine motor skills, teach them body part awareness, build their confidence, and encourage their imagination. 


For some of us, getting down and being silly with our kids can be hard though. It’s hard to let go of inhibitions brought on by adulthood and have the freedom our children have. To that, Katie says, “Let your hair down and have fun! No one’s judging you. They’re only young once and the kids enjoy it. When you give them that special time, they do recognize it. They love it more than you realize.”

If you’re interested in classes at The Little Gym of Brecksville/Sagamore, or The Little Gym of Rocky River, go to or

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