It's snowing outside - again. With little ones - or big ones -- stuck inside and feeling trapped, it's easy to resort to TV and video games to pass the time. But after too much Mickey Mouse and not enough movement those young bodies will only gain weight and lose muscle.
What can you do? How do you stimulate your children to exercise - to move - indoors? If you are home with your kids, it's important that you are getting everyone off the couch and elevating heart rates - while still giggling and having fun, of course.
"The importance of exercise for youth should not be understated, says Dr. David Bernhardt who specializes in primary care sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Rather than getting your youngsters involved in a lot of structured sports, the focus should be on a variety of free play activities both in the home, and outdoors," he adds.
Indoors or out, making exercise fun can excite children to move around and get them physically vital, stronger and more energetic. It's a great first step on the road to cultivating a lifetime of health and fitness.
This is the first part in a three-post series from Care.com on how to get your kids up and moving with exciting, age-appropriate physical activity. First up...TODDLERS! Keep reading to learn more!
Playing with blocks and dolls might not be your idea of a good time, but if you're caring for a toddler, you're going to have to learn to enjoy the simple things.
Play is vitally important to a child's development. It is through play he will learn basic motor skills, abstract thinking, social skills, language, math, good and bad, right and wrong.
If you don't remember how the smaller set has a blast, here are some reminders.
- Make Believe. Your little charges have active imaginations. Piles of dirt are cities and towns; rocks are their residents. Name a gang of stuffed animals, and ask a child to tell you a story about them.
- Music. Play with your own instruments, which can be pots and pans with a wooden spoon, or listen to CDs. You don't have to play kid-centric tunes, which can drive even the most patient soul batty. Opt for grownup musicians (who use kid-appropriate language!) children can sing along with: The Monkees, The Beach Boys, or Sheryl Crow, for instance.
- Books. The classics, such as Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, still keep 'em captivated -- and giggling.
- Puzzles. Young children can put a shape in the proper hole. As they get older, try basic picture puzzles.
- Playgrounds. Many city-sponsored play areas have special sections for small children. Squat in the sandbox, bounce on a squishy surface, or take a ride down a slide.
Children need physical activity. Stroll around the yard and collect leaves, walk to the park for a picnic, or just run around. Check newspapers and the Internet for upcoming community events, such as fairs or story groups, or visit a museum or art gallery.
The Bottom Line:
It's your job to keep a child mentally and physically stimulated. Plan a variety of activities, and never leave them languishing in front of the TV.
These tips were published with permission from Care.com.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!