Incorporating health and fitness in the lives of toddlers and children is often overlooked, but with that comes an incredible amount of benefits when your little one is at the right age to be introduced to fitness and health. Regular exercise in discreet ways and a healthy diet can be brought into place when your toddler turns the age of 3. Now when we indicate the words fitness and health, it doesn’t mean to establish a regime that will have your little one wiped out or drenched in sweat. There are many ways you can include a healthy diet and regular exercise in your little one’s life without having to compel them into doing so, which is what we bring to you.
Benefits of staying active for little ones
- Makes muscles stronger – A greater sense of balance and co-ordination comes with stronger muscles, allowing them to run and play with a lower risk of injuries and falls.
- Stronger bones – Staying active and regular exercise will help increase bone strength and health
- Better sleep – An active child will fall asleep easier and stay down throughout the night
- Decreased risk of diseases – Those who are active tend to face a lower risk towards many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, etc
- Maintaining a healthy weight – Being underweight or overweight at a young age can result in many health difficulties that may follow them into adulthood
Physical Activity Classes
Enrol your little one in a class of their interest, be it ballet or martial arts, this will keep them in an active state throughout the entire lesson. These physical activity classes will have your little one engaged in exercise as they have fun, it’ll help with their flexibility, increase bone and muscle strength while all in all, aiding them to reach or remain at a healthy weight. Let your little one pick out the class they’d like to attend, get them to try out a bunch of classes as many of them come with free trials and choose the one they fancy the most. Physical activity lessons are not for everyone, you might find your little one losing interest and wanting to call it quits which is fine, forcing to like something they have no interest or lost interest in should never be the case; have them try out for a new physical activity class that may better suit them.
Your little one’s involvement in sports will not only help them keep active but many important values and lessons come with sports activities. Sports teach children the importance of leadership, sportsmanship, coping with failure and teamwork; these core values will stay with them even when they’re off the field or court. You can get your little one to take an interest into sports by playing with them in your backyard or at a park, get them learning a bunch of sports activities so it’ll give them the chance to vibe with the one they take a shine to the most. Better yet, get the whole family involved in sports activities and indulge in some family fun, your little ones will relish even further in the sport. If the interest persists, your little one will take it a step further by joining a sports team in their school or neighbourhood; it’s a great step to staying active.
Replace Screen Time With Outdoor Time
Turn off the Television and get your little ones to play outside instead, this will get them off their heinies and will compel them to head on outside for playtime. Enforcing limited screen time is one way to get your little ones to get creative and find something fun to do without a screen glaring in their face. If you happen to have a tree in your backyard, DIY a tyre swing or a little fort in the backyard and watch the magic happen. Let your little one invite friends over and encourage them to have fun outdoors, this will have your little ones engaged in staying active instead of a sedentary lifestyle. Take them to the park or playground and let them indulge in playtime, bring their bicycles or scooters along if they happen to have one.
Getting your little one to do some chores around the house will have them involved in light physical activity which is a great way to start introducing the trait of being active. Have them walk the dog but with you being at a watchful distance, this will have them take responsibility for the pet while getting in a light round of exercise. For the rather littler little one’s, you’d want to start with something fairly simple such as getting them to tidy up their toys or hand them a feather duster, preferably those colourful shiny ones to hold their attention as they dust places in their reach. Slowly increase the difficulty level of the chore but find ways to gamify them so your little ones will find them less tedious and will maybe even have some fun doing household chores. You can also treat them with non-monetary items to motivate them into carrying out the chores assigned to them but it is advised to only offer these treats once in a while as it may teach them a vague lesson that there’s always a prize at the end.
A Healthy Diet
Regular exercise should be followed with a healthy diet, nothing too extreme of course. Start by minimising your little one’s intake of junk food and carbonated drinks, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Cutting junk food and sugary drinks out completely will only make your little one’s life miserable and they will reprimand the new healthy diet, so make junk food and sugary drinks an occasional treat. Incorporate more green leafy vegetables, proteins, calcium-based foods and beverages, vitamin-infused foods, and clean carbohydrates into their diet instead. With tonnes of recipes to make bland tasting food much more palatable, your little ones will be headed on their way to a healthier lifestyle.