‘The toddler years’ is the time to foster a love of physical activity that could stick with your child throughout her life and become habit forming. Try these ideas that will pique your toddler’s interest and learn the joys of activity.
TODDLERS LOVE TO MOVE. It’s how they learn to coordinate their motions and grow stronger. Toddlers don’t need to be taught to be active—most days it comes naturally. In fact you’ll probably be the one who’s worn out from trying to keep up. But when you channel all this natural raw energy into activities that are age-appropriate and fun, you’ll help your child link movement to pleasure. And that can ignite a lifelong love of being active that will add to her health, joy and wellbeing.
the Toddlers don’t need team sports or a jogging regimen to be active. Here are some ways you can nurture their natural love of movement.
GEAR UP FOR FAMILY FITNESS. Everything’s more fun when Mom or Dad takes part in family activities. Allow your toddler to start an activity and follow your toddler’s lead. Does she want to do it more? Repeating things over and over is how a toddler learns, so be patient and keep at it. Is she expressing frustration or lack of interest? If she is, move on to something else.
ACT LIKE A PLAYTHING YOURSELF. You are your toddler’s favourite kind of play. Toddlers love climbing on a parent’s back for a piggyback ride, gentle wrestling, or playing leapfrog with you, for example. Make it exciting -- be a little silly and let the active fun flow. If you’re having fun, your child is probably having fun, too.
THINK ALL-AROUND PLAY. Toddlers find it especially fun to climb, go down slides, run, and tumble—activities that use lots of different muscle groups. Playgrounds, sandpits, especially those designed for younger children, and parent-child tumbling classes offer all these activities. Playgrounds and parks give them space to run and explore.
Get adventurous with playtime at home. Organize an open play space or area of your home where your child has space for physical play.
Create an obstacle course out of pillows, cardboard boxes, and furniture.
Remember to practise safety. Whether you are at home or outdoors, keep a close watch because toddlers’ judgement and sense of self-control lag behind their motor skills.
BEWARE OF TOO MUCH ORGANIZED ACTIVITY. Toddlers need to move when they feel like moving—not because it’s 9am on Tuesday and therefore time for gym class. And it’s too soon for team sports for them. Your child won’t have the physical skills or attention span to pay attention to instructions until age 6 or 7. Don’t expect it to be the main source of exercise at this age.