“Toddler” word mainly derived from the phrase “to toddle”, which means to walk restlessly. They are not designed to sit idle at one place. These are the most interesting years for your toddler because in this phase toddlers began to recognize themselves as a separate individual from their parents and try to explore the world on their own.
Toddler age is the best times for the children where they learn to develop their emotional, social and cognitive skills. It is important to channelize these restlessness and agility into a meaningful physical activity that can help them to grow fit and active throughout the day.The only best thing you can do for your kid is to give them the space to explore.
According to the physical activity guidelines, in one day a toddler should be involved into these below activities:
• Do 30 minutes of structured physical activities that is planned and directed by an adult. These includes age appropriate games like playing with balls, riding vehicles, musical chairs, climbing stairs etc.
• Do 60 minutes of unstructured physical activities that is a free play which includes playing in park, hopping, climbing on a ladder, playing board games or puzzles, craft activities etc.
Remember that a toddler should not be inactive more than 1 hour in a day except sleeping. Personally, my little boy is highly active and loves to play both indoors and outdoors. When he was in his 6 months, I started to take him for daily strolling at least for 30 minutes. Later it became a habit of playing outside for 1 hour doing different kind of activities like playing in play area, running, playing in the swings and slides and many more.Now that he has learned the basics, he has been able to play independently with balls, riding his tri-cycle, playing hide and seek (obviously under adult supervision).
Importance of exercise in toddler’s life
Experienced by own life and inspired by my husband’s sport life, one thing I got to know that kids those who are active at young age tends to stay active throughout their lives. As parents, we all want our child to be active and healthy lifelong. So, taking few steps to push your child to do necessary physical activity would help them while they grow big. No one wants their child to be lazy, especially couch potatoes or lotus eaters.
Now, let’s talk about the contribution of exercise towards a toddler’s life:
- Exercise will keep your child active throughout the day which helps in improving the strength and skill of skeletal muscles which then leads to better competence and co- ordination skills.
- Exercise helps in decreasing anxiety and depression among children (same goes for adults also).
- Staying fit helps in improving self esteem and reduce the risk of serious challenges such as obesity, blood pressure, etc.
- Exercises helps to maintain a healthy weight and gives a better sleeping which is very much necessary for a toddler to stay fresh.
- Exercise also improves the academic performances as the mind becomes sharper and more focused.
Steps to introduce exercise in your toddler’s life style
Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but much more rewarding. Creating a habit requires a lot of effort and if it is the case with the toddler then indeed it need a hell lots of energy and perseverance. I have noted down few tips which will help you plan better:
- Step outside: The first tip to start exercise is to step outside of your house. As I said, I started to take my baby outside when he was 6 months and that really helped me a lot and now he got ready easily at his regular timing to play outside.So, mommies push yourself a little bit because kids do what they see.Make sure of not giving up on yourself.
- Include fitness into your day: You can have a mini walk to get a fitness fix or simply tumble, dance, groove or have some general movement. Come on guys, these are not so difficult to turn on the music and have some dance moves. The fun part is your baby can be your dance partner (this is my favorite exercise for my little boy as we enjoyed a lot while dancing together).
- Curb the lotus eater lifestyle: No one likes their baby to get into couch potato lifestyle as it will only affect child’s health negatively. So, reducing the screen time is necessary. Limiting TV time in younger age will help establish healthy habits down the road. Choose that type of video that encourage your toddler to get up and dance or move along with the characters (choose videos which your baby and you both likes).
- Get in the team spirit: An active parent raises an active child and its true. Get in the team spirit and give your child the opportunity to explore the world. Include yourself in your child’s play time and involve them into your daily works. The more a child get into multiple things, the more he learns about life.
- Connect the children in the neighborhood: This one is great and simple way to involve your child in outdoor games. Find the friends for him and you won’t need to do give much effort to engage them in physical activities (of course you need to be part of them and not glued to your mobile).
So, we never know what future will bring to these tiny little guys, but we can certainly make sure they lead a healthy and happy life. And as we know, children will learn to explore when they are given necessary support and the opportunity to do so. As per the famous writer James Sallis “The best predictor of pre-school children’s physical activity is simply being outdoors….”.
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