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So it’s 2020, and with a New Year AND a new decade, lots of us made resolutions to get healthier. This could mean getting back to the gym, or trying that clean eating program again. But have we thought about our children and how they can be part of our health journey? Sure we take them to all their pediatrician and dentist appointments, and give them their gummie vitamins. But what about teaching them to practice a healthy lifestyle?
In today's world, our children’s lives are becoming more and more still. Full-day school programs start as early as 2.5 years old and many pre-schools favor academic learning over physical activity and play. Meanwhile, at home, playing outdoors unmonitored for hours on end is no longer a thing. And screens rule the day.
Kids are in front of screens at an earlier age and for longer than ever before. Sadly, we are already seeing the downsides of screens including a decrease in social skills, an increase in childhood obesity, and an increase in anxiety in the teen and young adult years. But we can change course.
This year our family is prioritizing our health and we hope you will too. And let me be clear, this doesn’t mean dieting or excessive exercise. We are talking about an overall healthy lifestyle that includes our children.
So let's start with physical activity. The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that every day, infants between 12 and 36 months old engage in at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity, otherwise known as free play. It is important for littles to get physical activity everyday for a host of reasons.
1. Physical activity helps kids develop strength and agility.
Running, climbing, wheelbarrow walking, jumping, are all great activities for growing bodies. Strong legs will help them walk longer distances and you get to ditch the stroller sooner. Strong arms are a precursor to writing skills. And strong core muscles help children with balance and elimination of urine and bowel movements. We are always all about the potty training angle!
2.Physical activity helps kids develop problem-solving skills, stamina and social skills.
Navigating the jungle gym and building sand castles are non-stop problem-solving activities. As is going through an obstacle course at a baby gym. Meanwhile waiting on line for the slide or the swings is a true test in patience and working with others towards an end goal. All these lessons, masked in fun.
3.Use of large muscles tires children out and improves their sleep
When kids get healthy doses of daily physical activity, they are more likely to be tired, and therefore easier to put down for naps and bedtime. Who doesn’t love a sleeping child???
4.Physical activity keeps blood moving and the heart pumping which in turn helps to move the digestive system along.
This means regular peeing and pooping which will serve you well when it is time for potty training. Like we said, we always bring it back to potty training!
5.Introducing your child to daily activity creates a pattern of behavior and a routine that they will hopefully adapt as their own as they grow up. This will help them stay healthy and fit throughout their lives and serve as a useful tool to reduce stress.
So get out there and get moving WITH your kids. It doesn't have to be a yoga class or a 2 mile run. A simple walk in the park with your little or 30 minutes of dancing around your living room to your favorite pre-“Baby Shark” songs is just as good.
The science tells us that when we exercise it improves our mood, our sleep and even our memory. And studies have shown that even 30 minutes of exercise can help lift the mood of those experiencing post-partum depression. It's a win all around!
Tell us in the comments what physical activity you love to do with your kids. Or maybe there is something that you like to do without the littles. Share your ideas with the pee-kaboo potty sticker® community. And we will be sharing our journey towards a healthier lifestyle with you too. Happy New Year!