How To Exercise With A Toddler At Home (+ FREE Mom & Toddler Workouts)

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Tips to help you stay fit even with a little one at home. Mom and toddler workouts to help you bond while you get active.

As a mom to littles, it can feel like as soon as you get a routine down, it changes again. Making motherhood all the more exciting, right? It seems as though our little ones like to keep us on our toes, just to be sure we are performing at our best.

Of all the trial and error I have gone through to fit in my workouts, I can say that there is still not an exact science to finding the time to exercise. I still have to be ready to adapt for when life gets messy and my toddler’s routine changes yet again.

However, I have found so many ways to make it work that at this point it is no longer a wrench in my fitness. Let me share the tricks I’ve used as a mom of 3 under 4 to get in my workouts over the years.

How to exercise with a toddler at home?

You may have to get creative, but there are plenty of opportunities to fit in your exercise with a toddler at home.

Schedule in your workout

The simplest place to start would be to look at your schedule. Remember that tried and true advice of making your workout a meeting with yourself? That way you view it as something that is too important to cancel. Just as you would with a doctor’s appointment, date night, or work event.

Look through yours and your toddler’s daily schedule and find any window you can. I’m sure you have an hour, half an hour, or even 15 minutes to get in some kind of workout.

Take advantage of sleep windows

I have often taken advantage of the peace and quiet of their sleep time. Whether that is early in the morning, after they go to bed, or during nap time.

This one is harder to use if your child has an unpredictable sleep pattern, but it is often times the easiest way to workout distraction-free.

As a mom with littles, I understand waking up early to workout isn’t always easy. Check out my post How To Get Motivated To Wake Up For Your MORNING WORKOUT if you need a little push to get up and get going.

Utilize your lunch break

If you work from home, or have access to a fitness facitilty nearby, try using your lunch break to sneak in a sweat. You will have to compromise and eat your lunch while you work, but it may be easier than adding another block to your already busy schedule.

If you don’t want to be in need of a shower afterwards, use the time to do low intenisty exercise like mobility, walking, or calisthenics.

Keep them occupied with a snack or meal

Toddlers are often notorious for being slow eaters, especially if they are still learning how to use utensils. This could buy you enough time to squeeze in a short HIIT workout while you watch them eat.

In fact, I have an entire HIIT Playlist filled with workouts that can be done in 30 minutes or less, check it out!

Take them to the gym

You may wonder how do you go to the gym with a toddler? Although a gym is not a safe place for a toddler, many facilities offer childcare for an extra fee so you can exercise while your little one is being taken care of.

If your tot doesn’t take to strangers yet, search for local mommy and me fitness classes that let you bring your little one to play nearby or hang out in their stroller while you workout.

Distract them with independent play

Arts and crafts, special toys they don’t get often, or sensory bins are a few examples of ways you can keep your toddler busy for enough time to fit in a workout. It’s a great way to keep them occupied if you try to minimize screen time.

Get active together

Active play time is a great way to bond while you stay fit. Toddlers are full of energy so they love games like chase, tag, sports play, going for walks, or doing dance parties.

You can even trick them into exercise with imagination play. Pretend to be animals with moves like frog hops, crab walks, bear crawls, inchworms.

Getting them involved in your workout is a great way to bond while encouraging a positive attitude around fitness. You can do this by inviting them to follow along and mimic you, get them their own “workout gear,” or using them as weight.

Bonus points for this tip because they will be tired and maybe even ready for nap afterwards!

Wait until you have help

Don’t forget that you have support! Set up play dates with family or friends to give you a little me time while your toddler gets to build their relationship with loved ones.

“Play time with Dad” can serve as “Mom’s workout time” for a win-win that everyone enjoys.

When should I start working out with my toddler?

Start a routine of working out with your toddler as soon as they can listen and follow commands.

Working out with your toddler around will help them build a passion for fitness as you set a good example and instill your expectations.

In my experience, little ones do best with routine. They feel safe and secure in a state of predictability, usually resulting in a more aggreable attitude.

Now don’t get me wrong, my kids and I do not have a set schedule by any means. But my husband and I have found that consistency is a major factor in the ease of life with a little. We kept to a fairly consistent schedule when it comes to naps and sleep. And man, oh man, it worked for us.

Then it gave me the idea to make my workout routine just that… a routine. So I gave it a try, everyday I would workout before nap time.

I didn’t start with high expectations. I wanted to keep it stress free. That way if my workout got interrupted by a tantrum or other needs, then so be it.

Over time, they learned my cues, mommy in workout clothes, music, workout gear, etc. Now we are at a point where they know what to expect.

You may be thinking that a workout while your toddler is awake is just not doable. I totally get it. I did not always do a workout when my toddlers were awake.

Some days, working out with my toddlers awake was the only option I had. So we made it work! And I was able to successfully balance fitness into motherhood.

mom and toddler exer

Toddlers are very needy, they want your undivided attention. And working out is not exactly all eyes on them. I realized that she was associating “workout time” with “mommy ignores me time.” That was one of our biggest hurdles. So I had to get my toddler on board if I was going to get in my workout with minimal interruptions. Again, I kept my expectations low until we progressed.

How can I exercise with a clingy toddler?

mom working out with kids at home

1. Involve them in our workout

Get your little one excited to join you in your workouts by using them as weight or as a partner, getting them their own (toddler safe) “gear,” or use it as an opportunity to teach them new skills.

You can do this by holding them while you squat or “pressing” them overhead. Give tickles or kisses between reps or sets. Get them toy dumbbells or let them borrow your resistance bands to explore. Encourage them to mimic your movements or give them little challenges like a wall sit or holding a plank.

2. Give them something to look forward to

End your successfully completed workout by complimenting them on how good their exercise was and how much they “helped” you workout. “Reward” them with a trip to the park, a dance party, or by letting them choose the next activity.

I found that I could use the reward as a motivating reminder when my toddler got antsy or started being uncooperative during the workout.

How do you workout using a toddler as weight?

Add weight to your exercises by holding your toddler against your chest or on your back (jetpack style) while maintaining a strong spine and engaged core.

The simple act of carrying your toddler requires effort, and for an extended duration or in combination with calisthenics can count as exercise.

Depending on the weight and ability of your toddler, you can use them simply as weight or also have them participate. Check out a variety of upper and lower body exercises using your toddler as weight below:

lower body exercises using large toddler as weight
upper body exercises with toddler
upper body exercise using toddler
upper body exercise using large toddler as weight
lower body exercises using small toddler as weight
upper body exercises using small toddler as weight

Mom and toddler workouts at home

Create full body mom and toddler workouts by using a variety of upper and lower body exercises. You can take a strength training approach by doing straight sets of each exercise or get a more endurance effect by cycling through the exercises in a circuit style format.

Check out the full body mom and toddler workouts that can be done at home. I made them with a large or small toddler in mind so that you can adjust as your tot grows!

Use the pictures above for a demonstration of the given exercises in the workouts below.

mom and larger toddler workouts
mom and small toddler workouts

You CAN workout with a toddler at home!

Getting your toddler involved in your workouts are a great way to instill values of perseverence, hard work, and a pasion for health and fitness.

I clearly have demonstrated that I am a toddler whisperer with all of the secrets, right?! But really, these are the best tips I can give you to make workout time simple and fun, even with your toddler.

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  1. Love this. I feel like most of us as moms struggle to get our time in for things that are important to us. Involving them or utilizing naps can be so helpful!

  2. I love that you talk about how to incorporate the toddler into your workout – this is really the only way I was able to get it done before I was postpartum with baby number 2!

  3. Love all of the pictures to reference back to. Boy are you strong, momma! Hoping to get into this kind of shape after this baby is born! Will have to refer back to this post in a few months!

  4. Where there is a will, there is a way! Great recommendations for getting a workout in WITH our toddlers!

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