We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Get going in the great outdoors
It may be more convenient to push your preschooler in a stroller, buckle her into a car seat, or plunk her in a shopping cart, but by immobilizing her you are, well, immobilizing her – a state that doesn't come naturally to a preschooler.
When you're not so pressed for time, let your preschooler roam freely (with you shadowing her, of course). One of the best ways to make sure your preschooler gets all the exercise she needs is to head outside, says David Bernhardt, a sports medicine pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Kids run, climb, hop, skip, and jump much more in the great outdoors than they do when stuck inside (where there are lots of admonitions to quit jumping on the couch).
So scout out some safe outdoor play places, bundle up your child if you have to, and bring along balls and a tricycle or bike with training wheels, and supervise her activities. Or better still, play ball, hide and seek, or a game of chase with her.
Bored with your local playing field, park, or playground? Head to the beach or lake to comb for hidden treasures, or hike a nature trail, keeping an eye out for curious creatures. After dinner, venture out for an amble in search of stars.
Shake, rattle, and roll
When getting outside seems impossible – it's pouring rain, your baby is sick, your preschooler is throwing a tantrum – then play some music and get dancing.
It needn't be a kiddie collection to get your youngster moving (we know preschoolers who are partial to the Talking Heads and the Jackson Five). Anything with a basic beat can do the trick. Get up and groove with your preschooler, and you'll both blow off some steam while you work out.
You already know that what you say has an impact on how your child talks, and that what you eat affects your child's eating habits. Same goes for exercise: Your child's future fitness and activity level are greatly influenced by how you spend your spare time, says Bernhardt.
So when you can, walk to the shops the library, or a friend's house rather than piling into the car. (Bring along a stroller if you suspect that your child will get tuckered out; if she doesn't, it's still handy for toting packages.)
At home, have her join you while you do your yoga stretches, practice a dance routine, or follow along with a video workout.
And make sure some family outings are active ones (for instance, swimming at the town pool, sledding in the park, or flying a kite in a field) instead of sedentary ones, such as taking a drive.
Bring on the buddies
There's nothing like having pals around to encourage your preschooler to get physical. Invite her best friend over for some splash time in the pool. Or take them bike riding, or bundle them up to chase each other with snowballs.
If you're part of a play group that meets weekly, make sure that at least some of the time the kids have the chance to ramble, wrestle, and tumble about – under an adult's watchful eye, of course. Or consider getting together at your local playground so the kids can exercise their limbs while you and the other parents chat.
Check out a class
Even at this young age, your preschooler will get a lot out of a regular swim, gymnastics, or music and movement class. Just don't overschedule your child.
Her temperament, daily routine, and social needs should be your guide here. For instance, a child who is in preschool five days a week may find even one class too much. On the other hand, a social butterfly who spends much of her time with you may thrive on a couple of scheduled activities a week.
The focus should be making fitness fun, not producing a future Olympian. You don't want to pressure your child to excel at athletics at this tender age.
Look for instructors who can relate to kids and who encourage but don't push, equipment that is age-appropriate and safe, and formats that favor mostly free play over a strict routine (20 minutes of instruction, max). Class size can also be a concern: Some kids get overwhelmed in situations with lots of noise and loads of little bodies bouncing off the walls.
Before you commit, ask for a trial run to see if your preschooler gets a kick out of the class.